New York Jets’ Sanjay Lal Not Calling Stephen Hill a Bust Yet


Sep 22, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver

Stephen Hill

(84) celebrates after a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Stephen Hill. There is the name of a guy that Jets fans love to hate. He was a questionable choice in 2012 when he was drafted by Mike Tannenbaum, simply because of his college experience. He had a rough go at in 2012, he was injured, and primarily the same story last season.

A receiver chosen in the second round of the draft brings with him high expectations. Fair or not, it’s just truth. Stephen Hill has not lived up to those expectations, so we are hating him, using the b-word, “bust”. I think if he continues to play poorly people might even stoop lower and call him Sanchez, that’s how much he is hated.

But Stephen is not hated by everyone. His receivers’ coach, Sanjay Lal, still holds out limited hope, not ready to use the b-word,

“It’s a little early to label him as a bust,” wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal told the New York Daily News. “When I think of bust, I don’t think of him that way. I have seen players who are higher picks that were busts because of their own laziness. Those are busts.”

It would be easy to just react to that by thinking that Sanjay Lal is making excuses for Mr. Hill. Sure he has been injured, no doubt about that. When he has been on the field, he has been pretty bad. Sanjay is just using the injuries as an excuse, Stephen Hill is a bust, right? To answer the question, you have to determine whether or not, in your mind, there is potential to put it together.

Let’s talk about that….

Look at last season for a minute. Before Stephen was injured, he had not been awful in the first half of the season. Project his stats out from the first half (23 receptions, 340 yards, one touchdown) and you get 46 receptions for 680 yards and two touchdowns.

Now I am not still under anesthesia or anything, I am not saying we are calling Canton over those numbers. All I am saying is that we wouldn’t be kicking him out the door over them either.

As we move ahead, you will recognize some numbers and figures courtesy of Pro Football Focus.

In the beginning…….

Stephen Hill played his first game against the Bills to open the 2012 season.  In that one Stephen posted five receptions for 89 yards and two touchdowns. His rating on PFT was a 2.4.  OK that has been a career water mark to date, but the potential for numbers is there.  Stephen posted positive ratings two more times in 2012, week six (1.4), and week 13 (1.1).

For comparison sake, Santonio Holmes has only twice posted a higher rating that 2.4 in a Jets’ uniform.

Again, not calling for his bust in Canton. Just saying, maybe he is not a bust yet.

Sep 22, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill (84) catches a pass against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Potential, yes. But there are some obvious things that need to turn around, because Stephen Hill will not be guaranteed a roster spot in 2013. He will have to earn it.

Should he make the team, the first thing is that he obviously must stay on the field. You want to make your mark? Sitting out with injuries would be the wrong way to get that done. Get the those knees, legs, ..etc. stronger so you can give us 16 games, Stephen.

The other major issue is the drop rate. Sort of like the crime rate, it’s never a good day when the drop rate is high.

And it was quite high in 2012. If it were the crime rate, you would have called it an epidemic. Stephen dropped 13 percent of passes thrown his way. Very bad.

But, last season, it went way down. In 2013, Stephen Hill dropped three out of 51 passes, for a percentage of 5.8%. That is a stark improvement that I wasn’t even aware of.

So are we making him a bronze bust? Nowhere hear it. But is Sanjay Lal right that we should allow more time? I think so, the potential is there. It will take work, but the potential is there.