Hill confident, despite quiet performance

August, 28, 2014
Aug 28
11:55
PM ET
PHILADELPHIA -- Stephen Hill's disappointing preseason is over. Now we wait to find out if he still has a job.

Hill played most of the first half in the New York Jets' 37-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. But he was targeted just twice, with one reception for 13 yards and one dropped pass.

Hill
The former second-round pick finished the preseason with just three catches for 42 yards, but sounded confident he will survive the Jets' final cuts and make the 53-man roster come Saturday.

"Yeah, I don’t know why I shouldn’t?" Hill said, smiling.

There are reasons to think otherwise, beyond his lack of production in recent weeks. Hill has been a big disappointment overall with the Jets, with just 45 catches for 594 yards in his first two regular seasons combined.

Coach Rex Ryan held out practically all his starters in Thursday's preseason finale, and even many of his backups. But Hill was out there, making it obvious his roster spot is far from a given.

When asked if Hill helped or hurt himself by his performance against the Eagles, Ryan sidestepped the question.

"All the talk of Stephen Hill or whatever -- we gotta really look at this tape, and we’ll see if we have any[thing] one way or the other," Ryan said. "I just think overall it was a poor performance. I can’t tell you really who jumped out."

Immediately after making that statement, however, Ryan complimented fellow wideout Saalim Hakim about his special teams play, leading you to believe Hakim -- who's also listed as the Jets' No. 1 kick returner -- will make the team.

Eric Decker, Jeremy Kerley and David Nelson, who sat out the game, are locks. And rookie fourth-round pick Jalen Saunders -- the team's primary punt returner, who also had four catches for 26 yards against the Eagles -- is likely to make the roster as well.

That probably leaves one more wide receiver spot available, for either Hill or Greg Salas. And Salas has outplayed Hill this summer. He played the same amount as Hill on Thursday, and although he had one drop as well, he also had a nice over-the-head grab for an eight-yard gain. Salas finished the preseason with five catches for 61 yards and one touchdown.

Hill said he's been given no indication by the coaching staff, as to his job status. To his credit, he did not seem put off by being asked to play Thursday, while so many of his teammates watched from the sideline.

"It’s football, I love football," Hill said. "I just want to stay on the field as much as I can."

Unfortunately for him, he may be done playing football -- at least for the Jets. We'll find out for sure soon enough.
Kieran Darcy is an ESPNNewYork.com staff writer. He joined ESPN in August 2000 after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, where he played four years of JV basketball.
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