FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Robby Anderson stood stoically in front of the cameras, unfazed by the barrage of questions about the loss of his position leader and his sudden emergence as the Jets’ top wide receiver.
Quincy Enunwa’s season-ending neck injury may prove to be a crippling blow for an offense still in flux and in search of its identity — and, not to mention, a starting quarterback. But while Anderson, 24, sees Enunwa’s absence as a critical loss for the Jets’ receiving corps, he also views it as something else entirely.
“It’s not a challenge,” Anderson said, matter-of-factly, on Tuesday, “it’s an opportunity.”
Twenty-four hours after the Enuwna news broke, teammates were still coming to grips with what the situation means for the team and themselves.
Fellow receiver Jalin Marshall, 22, admitted it’s somewhat “overwhelming” because “it’s something that you don’t prepare for.” But he, too, sees this as more than just a setback.
“It’s an opportunity for each and every guy in that wide receiver room to make a name for yourself and help this team win,” said the former undrafted free agent, who will start the year serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Coach Todd Bowles said the organization is taking a “wait and see” approach on adding another wideout, but he didn’t rule it out. “We may if someone comes available. We may not,” he said.
And as of now, it’s too early in training camp to know how well his young receivers will fare without veteran leadership. “We don’t know what we have yet cause they’re all young,” Bowles said. “We’ve got to get some more plays and more preseason games under our belt to see what we have.
“ . . . They don’t have anyone in front of them to teach them but we’ve got good coaches and the be ready to play. And in the preseason games, we’ll see how much growth they make.”
Christian Hackenberg also is going through his fair share of growing pains. After eight days of practice, the second-year quarterback threw his first pick during 11-on-11 drills.
And then his second.
For almost two weeks he was the only signal-caller without an interception during a team period, but Hackenberg was picked off by cornerback Marcus Williams and then two passes later, rookie safety Marcus Maye intercepted a pass up the middle.
The 22-year-old finished the day with three picks — including one during 7-on-7 drills.
There were plenty of bright spots for Hackenberg, too, though. One of his two touchdowns was a 75-yard bomb to Anderson over cornerback Juston Burris.
“I started off slow, obviously, in the blitz period,” Hackenberg said. “But personally I think I was most proud of being able to come back and finish and not let it affect me the rest of practice.”
Bowles said of his young quarterback: “He made some progress, and he’s got some things to watch and learn from with the interceptions. . . . Going forward he had good and bad plays. Just has to learn from them.”
The Jets on Tuesday released their first unofficial depth chart, listing veteran Josh McCown as their No. 1 quarterback. But Bowles said the coaching staff has not discussed whether McCown, Hackenberg or Bryce Petty will start Saturday’s preseason opener against Tennessee. Bowles also cautioned against reading too much into it: “We just had to put out an unofficial depth chart.”
Asked how much time he spent working on it, he replied: “None.”