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While everyone fully expected that Stephen Hill was going to have a bumpy first season, few expected that it would be this much of a struggle for the former Georgia Tech receiver.

Even so, Ryan and Sanchez aren't giving up on Hill according to the Daily News.

“Has he lost some confidence? I’m not sure,” added Ryan. “One thing I know for sure, we’re going to keep throwing it to him. He can get separation from people. The fun part and the easy part of the job is catching the football.”

Mark Sanchez echoed his coach’s belief in the young wideout.

“He’s working his butt off and that’s the most important thing. He’s not getting down, he’s still a positive kid, he’s still working hard and doing everything he possibly can,” said Sanchez. “We’ll keep him rolling, I’ve got all the faith in the world in him. I think he’s going to make big plays for us down the stretch. This year, and for years to come.”

The coach also noted that he was impressed with Hill’s blocking on Sunday.

UPDATE: ERR OOOPS about the run blocking thing ...

It's the last comment to me that's the most problematic.  Hill was supposed to be a good blocker coming out of a strong running program in Georgia Tech.  Ryan might not be publicly saying whether or not Hill is losing confidence, but if one of his areas of strength where he doesn't even have to think about catching a pass is showing signs of weakness, then it's not a good thing.

That said, we knew that Hill was going to need developmental time to become a good wideout in the NFL.  Sanjay Lal worked with Darrius Heyward-Bey and helped him to emerge into a promising player through last year.  Of course, Bey is sliding backwards some this year with injuries and whatever else is going on in Raider-land, but I do think that given more time Hill can still prove out to be effective.  The Jets are going to need him to be at his best this Thursday as the Patriots have added Aqib Talib since their last matchup.  It's going to be tougher going for Jeremy Kerley and a receiver who can get over the top of the safeties could be invaluable in this game  ... that is if Sanchez can get the ball downfield to him, of course ...

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