This season was supposed to be Jets WR Robby Anderson's year to breakout and prove to everyone doubting him that he is the Pro Bowl wideout he confidently pleaded to the camera after a touchdown last season.
But that hasn't been the case for the 25-year-old, who has taken a couple steps back in 2018.
First, it was Anderson once again falling into some legal trouble this offseason. And while maybe some stellar play on the field would turn some heads away from that off-the-field distraction, the ball just hasn't rolled in Anderson's favor through 12 weeks.
And this couldn't have been a worse time for that to happen, as Anderson was hoping for a multi-year extension after the season. Instead, things are pointing more toward a tender agreement than that big deal.
He obviously doesn't want to see that happen. Anderson wants to continue building with the Jets for years to come -- not just one or two.
"I would hope not to be tendered," he told the Daily News' Manish Mehta. "Because I don't want to be here for possibly just one more year. I want to be here for the long term. I feel like I worked hard. (The RFA tender) is a step up from where I'm at now. But I want to be here for the long term."
So far this season, Anderson has totaled just 23 catches for 368 yards and three touchdowns over nine games. Though injuries play to that tune a bit, it is still a big digression from his 941 yards on 63 receptions for seven touchdowns last season -- a year that sparked No. 1 receiver conversations for Anderson.
But, even though the numbers haven't been there, Anderson is positive the Jets realize what he did in 2017 wasn't by accident. He believes he can replicate seasons like that down the road.
"I think we all know what I'm capable of doing," he said. "I think that's obvious."
To help Anderson's case, it was a good sign that the Jets passed on trading him to the Eagles when they came inquiring with a fourth-round pick to give away, according to Mehta. Philadelphia would later trade WR Golden Tate for a third-round pick with the Lions.
Anderson was flattered to see other teams are intrigued by his skill set on the field, but he isn't swooning at those siren songs. His heart bleeds green.
"To be honest, I think it shows that teams throughout the league see my talent and see what I bring to the table and see what I'm capable of," Anderson said. "But I want to be a Jet. Clearly, they feel the same way, because they didn't get rid of me. So, I want to be here for the long run. And I want to be the best I can be. I want to feel appreciated and just be understood. I just want to be a great football player."
Anderson has the skills to be the true playmaker the Jets want him to be. But that requires the ball to be thrown his way like it was last season.
Leading the team with over 100 targets, Anderson was Josh McCown's favorite guy to throw it to. But McCown isn't running the show anymore with rookie QB Sam Darnold at the helm. Instead, it has been Quincy Enunwa, who returned this season from a neck injury that held him out all of last year. And even Jermaine Kearse -- an acquisition in the middle of 2017 -- leads the team with 65 targets.
Anderson comes in third with 48, and even he admits he sometimes needs to take a step back to realize the new situation he's in.
"I feel like with what's been going on, I didn't even deal with this my rookie year," Anderson said. "It's kind of confusing at times. I just got to look at myself in the mirror and work that much harder and stay positive. I can control what I can control, and when those opportunities do come, try my best to make the most of them. But I definitely want the ball, because I know what I'm capable of. And I know the difference I make for our team and for the offense. It's frustrating but it is what it is."
Will Anderson let that frustration get to him anymore? Not a shot.
He's going into these final games with a new mindset, one that will accept the fact that he must continue to work hard even if the ball isn't coming his way. And when it does, make the play.
"I just had to take a deep breath and understand that I'm doing the best that I can," he said. "… But I have to do that much more and work that much harder. Just stay positive. I'm still living my dream."