Stephen Hill spent the entire offseason in Florham Park focused on one thing: his knee.
The former second-round pick could have gone back home to Georgia for some R&R, but instead spent just about every day at the Jets facility recovering from December surgery.
“Everything, health-wise, is 100 percent,” said Hill, who ended the season on injured reserve after suffering an LCL sprain in his right knee in Week 14. “I look forward to learning a lot this year. Last year was a great learning experience, but definitely looking forward to this year.”
Hill had a rocky rookie season. His second-round selection, coupled with the season-ending injury to Santonio Holmes (Lisfranc), instantly forced him into the spotlight. And, at times, it seemed the glare was far too bright for the former Georgia Tech receiver. The NFL learning curve proved especially steep for Hill, who had a case of the dropsies -- and one of his biggest in-game faux pas occurred at one of the most inopportune times: Against the Patriots. In a game the Jets seemed poised to win.
Hill, however, said he doesn’t think about last year. Instead, he said, “I just know I have to get better every year. Either way it goes, you’re going to have falls and things like that and I’m just ready to get this stuff started.”
He’s particularly excited about Marty Mornhinweg’s West Coast Offense, which is predicated on the passing game -- a big departure from the run-heavy offense the Jets tried to get off the ground under former coordinator, Tony Sparano. “Oh, I love it,” Hill said with a smile. “Of course, it’s different from coach Sparano’s.”
The Jets offense ranked 30th in 2012.
“But coach Mornhinweg is definitely trying to put the ball in the air and let us receivers go get it,” Hill said. “He’s definitely preached to us, run routes correctly, make sure were catch the ball right.”
With a new general manager on board the stakes are even higher for the Jets, who finished 8-8 in 2011 and 6-10 in 2012. But while Rex Ryan has made it clear he expects to see a vast improvement in Hill’s game this season, the second-year wideout isn’t feeling any pressure to perform.
“Nah, no pressure at all,” he said, smiling again. “I’m just ready to go.”
Hill, who said he felt fully-recovered in February, is looking forward to 2013 – not just because it’s a fresh start, but because he’s no longer a rookie trying to find his way.
“It’s a lot different,” he said of Year 2. “Coming in last year, you really didn’t know anything, you’re just coming in blind. Just learning a lot from how the year went last year. It really gives you a lot more of a step on other guys that’s coming in.”