PHILADELPHIA - Stephen Hill just shrugged and smiled at the crowd of reporters surrounding him in the visitors' locker room.
The former second-round pick politely fielded questions about his up-and-down preseason and his chances of making it past this weekend's roster cutdown.
But all of the inquiries seemed to catch Hill by surprise.
Asked if he's earned a spot on the Jets' 53-man roster, the wide receiver flashed a puzzled look. "Yeah? Like, I don't know why I shouldn't. But yeah," Hill said, giggling.
So what exactly makes him so confident?
"Honestly -- next question," he said, laughing again. "Next question."
Fourth preseason games are reserved for backups and bubble guys, but Hill didn't see his limited playing time in Thursday night's 37-7 loss to the Eagles as cause for concern. "No disrespect, but that's why they're on the outside," he said, referring to those who think his roster spot's in danger. "They're not in this locker room, they're not playing. That's all I can honestly tell you."
The Jets, according to a recent ESPN report, have tried unsuccessfully to trade Hill. But he didn't seem the least bit worried heading into the weekend.
"It's just my job to go out there and play. And that's what I'm getting done out there now," he said.
" . . . I just worry about myself, what I put out on the field. I can't control those things. Things happen. I don't know what's going on. Just like the other guys. I'm just out here playing."
Hill finished with just two targets, one catch for 13 yards and a drop.
Jets coach Rex Ryan said earlier in the week that Hill will have to compete for a spot on the 53-man roster, just like other guys. But when asked Thursday for an assessment of Hill's performance against the Eagles, Ryan provided no insight.
"We've got to really look at this tape and we'll see one way or the other," he said. "But again, I just think overall it was a poor performance. I can't tell you, really, who jumped out."
Ryan also defended his decision to pull Hill after five drives.
"Well, I mean, how about the other guys?" he asked. "You're trying to get a look at everybody, not just one player. You're trying to look at a lot of different players and give some young guys an opportunity as well."
Despite knowing the Georgia Tech product would be a project, the Jets moved up to snag Hill in the second round of the 2012 draft and made him a starter. He then ended each of his first two seasons on injured reserve. Hill has 45 catches for 594 yards and four touchdowns in 23 games.
Though he felt as though he began this year's training camp on a strong note, Hill admitted he had a "couple" of bad practices. "But other than that, it's basically opportunities,'' he said. "Gotta get a lot more opportunities and then take advantage of the opportunities that were given to me. It's just one of those up-and-down preseasons . . . It was all right."
Hill acknowledged that he didn't get a lot of opportunities to showcase his talent this preseason but maintained he isn't at all frustrated. "I just have to make sure I put it on the film for the coaches and make sure that they're excited about the things I'm doing,'' he said.
And though he would have "loved to play longer'' Thursday, Hill said "the plan was to play me only for that time."