Can Quincy Enunwa emerge as real offensive threat?
As the New York Jets continue in training camp and preseason football, wide receiver Quincy Enunwa is developing nicely. It’s to the point where he could become a real threat on offense.
On the eve of training camp this season for the New York Jets, three coordinators were the guests of honor at a private “Chalk Talk” event in a fancy New York City restaurant. Over plates of pasta and fish, the fans came up with a number of pressing questions, and one of the more intriguing ones was directed to Jets’ offensive coordinator Chan Gailey.
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“Who is the key to your passing offense this season?” a very serious looking Jets fan asked. Probably expecting to hear either the name Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, returning tight end Jace Amaro, the newly acquired Matt Forte or even possibly the still-unsigned at the time Ryan Fitzpatrick. Although we knew he probably wouldn’t have mentioned Fitz by name. But in any case, much to everyone’s surprise, Gailey, without pause, answered, “Quincy Enunwa.” And Gailey was adamant, “Yes, Quincy.” So what exactly is it that makes Enunwa so valuable to the offense? “He allows us to do so many things. His blocking is the key to the success we’ve had with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker.”
A few days later, Marshall and a few other players echoed the same sentiment. Confirming what has come to many as a surprise, but to others not so much because Enunwa had a terrific season last year, albeit under the radar.
When Enunwa was selected in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft (209th overall pick) out of Nebraska, his college career did not stand out as much as others in the same draft. Many others were considered flashier, down-field types of receivers such as Shaq Evans, who caught the eye of many talent evaluators.
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But make no mistake about it, last year Enunwa shined with moments of brilliance on the field.
Yet one has to look closely to find the spark since last year he went about his business quietly.
He is certainly not a “hey look at me” type of receiver after making a big catch.
But big catches he’s used to, and perhaps none bigger than the 45-yard pass he caught during last year’s crucial win at home against the New England Patriots.
Although Enunwa has secured the third spot on the Jets’ wide receiver depth chart, the road to get there has not been easy. Let’s rewind to a couple of years ago. In September 2014, desperate for cornerback help after the Dimitri Patterson fiasco (yeah, remember him?), the Jets initially released Enunwa to make room for cornerback Phillip Adams.
Enunwa was soon added to the Jets’ practice squad, but other than the last game of the 2014 season, he did not see any game action at all. Then in 2015, Enunwa had to sit out four games during the middle of the season as punishment for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Lo and behold, the Jets’ offense was not just lackluster, but quite frankly, there were times when the team played awful, the Oakland Raiders game being one that stood out.
Fortunately for the Jets they have Enunwa for a full season so the expectations are high. But when you stop for a moment and think about how far he has come since the 2014 NFL Draft, it is remarkable that he is now considered—as Gailey suggested during the offseason—a key to the Jets’ passing game.
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That said, opposing defenses will certainly be keeping a much closer eye on him now but on the flip side the offense figures to be even more potent with other options, i.e., Forte, Amaro, and Kenbrell Thompkins, whom the Jets are hoping will also have a breakout year. So yeah, now many see why Gailey appreciates Enunwa so much, and so will fans of the Jets too this upcoming season.