As the New York Jets enjoy their first win of the season, all eyes are on wide receiver Quincy Enunwa who is developing into a star.
Last season, the New York Jets had double-digit wins for the first time since 2010, thanks to the new offense that general manager Mike Maccagnan pieced together. A key component to the team’s success was the dynamic duo of Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, who ultimately revitalized the position while putting their mark on the Jets’ record books.
The duo finished with 189 catches for over 2,500 yards and 26 touchdowns, more than any other wide receiver tandem in the NFL last year and the most by a Jets pair in a single season. However, it became apparent that the Jets needed another offensive weapon.
The tight end position for the Jets has been problematic and non-existent for many years. Additionally, the Jets running back last year, Chris Ivory, showed promise in the run offense but had many deficiencies coming out of the backfield.
It showed he was a one-dimensional running back and added very little to the receiving game. Last year, the emergence of wide receiver Quincy Enunwa became evident that he would potentially be a very prominent offensive threat as the third receiver for the future of the Jets.
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The Jets got their first win of the season last week in Buffalo, a 37-31 nail-biter.
Marshall acknowledged the importance of having Enunwa on this team.
“That’s what we didn’t have last year. We didn’t have a No. 3 guy. We didn’t have a No. 4 guy,” Marshall said, per Manish Mehta of the Daily News.
“Quincy is our unsung hero. He was our unsung hero last year, but it was just in the running game. Now we’re getting him involved in the passing game. You would think that it would be myself or Matt Forte or Decker that opens up the offense. But it’s really 81. If he can continue to make those plays and take advantage of 1-on-1 coverage – because he’s going to get it – it’s going to make all of our jobs easier.”
Enunwa was drafted by the Jets in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Nebraska and is having a very impressive breakout season thus far.
In his first season, he did not play at all. In 2015, he was mainly a blocker, only catching 22 total passes for 217 yards. This year, however, Enunwa is an integral part of the offense. He has already caught 13 passes for 146 yards and recorded his first NFL touchdown in Week 1.
At 6’2 and 225 pounds, Enunwa has an impressive skill set. He is a combination of both Marshall and Decker: he’s burly and strong like Marshall, but also extremely quick and runs routes incredibly well like Decker.
Aug 11, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Quincy Enunwa (81) gains yards during the first half of the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
According to co-receiver Decker, this is exactly what makes Enunwa so special is to be a guy that exhibits both strength and speed. “He’s a physical specimen,” Decker said, per Connor Hughes of NJ.com. “He understands coverages, his role and why he’s doing it. When those things slow down and you have confidence, the result is what that was on the field tonight.”
A player can really make a name for himself not only on the field but off the field as well.
For example, Josh Gordon, Browns’ superstar wide receiver, displayed poor judgment, after being suspended for two full seasons and four games of this season for marijuana use on multiple occasions.
In addition, Josh Brown, kicker of the New York Giants, was also suspended one game for allegedly beating his wife. Another example was Adrian Peterson, star running back of the Minnesota Vikings, who got suspended a full season for child abuse, using a bamboo stick.
Enunwa appears to be a coach’s dream with his off-field attitude; he displayed his true character while intervening during a fight between Darrelle Revis and Marshall this past training camp. Enunwa was the player who jumped in front, gave Marshall a bear-hug and removed him from the situation. It’s moves like these that gave Enunwa the chance to then prove himself on the field.
The Jets’ resilient search for that third passing option for Fitzpatrick last season seems to finally be over. With the rise of Enunwa, the Jets’ offense becomes even more dangerous to match up against and makes every throw even more unpredictable. With one of the toughest schedules in football coming up against the top offenses in Seattle, Arizona, Pittsburgh and New England twice, the Jets need Enunwa to step up and continue to help this offense thrive.