New York Jets Therapy Session – Case of the Dropsies

Cole Patterson with a New York Jets Therapy Session on the wide receivers struggling to catch the football

Cole Patterson continues his New York Jets Therapy Session series. Make sure to check for these every Thursday and to give him a follow on Twitter

Diagnosis: Call in the Center for Disease Control. Don your HazMat suit. Stock up on the Stickum antiviral. The highly contagious scourge that is the “Dropsies” has infected the New York Jets. With a minimal incubation period, this contagion has spread like wild fire through the Jets receiving corps with dire effects.


  • Aligator Arms
  • Stone Hands
  • Butter Fingers
  • CATCHING WITH YOUR CHEST (like a pop warner fullback)
  • Stat lines like this: 15/35, for 214 yds, 0 TDs, 3 INTs
  • Literally, ZERO yards after the catch
  • A “Bunch” being used to quantify the number of drops (“I don’t know how many balls we dropped today, but it was a bunch” – Rex Ryan)


Sunshine and Fresh Air: I’ll start with the obvious. Much as the dropsies displayed by the receivers hurt quarterback Geno Smith, the weather sure didn’t help. Rain dramatically worsens the symptoms of the Dropsies Virus, its a known medical fact. The ball comes out of the quarterback’s hands with less zip and accuracy (impacting the ball’s trajectory) and the receivers’ drenched hands cannot get a good grip on the poorly thrown, slippery, ovular duck. With that said, Stephen Hill and Clyde Gates don’t have the best pass catching ability to begin with…

Coaching and the Jugs Machine: When Stephen Hill was drafted in the second round, the organization was well aware that he was a project. He had all the athletic ability in the world but was a stiff route runner and an unnatural pass catcher. Clyde Gates is a similar case but with more exaggerated flaws. This was a concern going into the offseason, considering these two wide outs were expected to be major parts of the passing game. However, both displayed improved route running and receiving abilities in training camp and preseason. Hope for this receiving corps was at an all time high. Yet, the progress displayed by Hill and Gates has failed to translate to the regular season. They are failing to attack or high point the ball. They are catching with their chest. They are not following the ball with their eyes through the catch. Their flaws are symptoms of the dropsies, lapses in concentration, poor coaching, and poor retention. Receivers Coach Sanjay Lal needs to take these boys out, fire up the Jugs Machine to max velocity, and have them attack the football with their HANDS until the cows come home.

The mistakes these receivers are making are rookie, no, pee wee football mistakes. A lot of catching ability is natural and built into a players’ DNA. Still, if Hill and Gates can’t move past these mental lapses and learn the proper mechanics to catching a football, the Jets may be looking at a complete overhaul of the position next season…not a very beneficial situation for a young quarterback.

Author: Cole Patterson

Cole has attended American University in Washington DC and is currently completing a double major in history and global communications at Ramapo College in Northern NJ. He has served as an NFL Analyst for a local DC radio show, Fanatic Radio. He lives and dies with the New York Jets. Cole will help lead Jets coverage and analysis.

  • Lidman

    Cole, there is a reason Gates, 27, was available. He can run, but he’s never been a polished route runner and it’s obvious his hands aren’t great. But, please stop suggesting Hill’s lack of progress, at this point, is pee wee football. Let’s take a look at some of the better WR in the NFL:

    C Johnson ’07 2nd overall: 15g/10gs 48rec/756yd (J Kitna)

    B Marshall ’06 4th rd: 15g/1gs 20rec/309yd (Plummer/Cutler)

    D Thomas ’10 22nd pick (using ’10-11 injuries): 21g/7gs 54rec/834yd (Orton/Tebow)

    V Jackson ’05 2nd rd (use his 1st 2yrs, because he had 3 catches his rookie year: 24g/7gs 30rec/512yd (Brees/Rivers)

    R Wayne ’01 30th overall: 13g/13gs 27rec/345yd (P Manning)

    S Hill ’12 2nd rd: (using career stats) 13g/13gs 31rec/377yd (Sanchez/McElroy/Smith)

    The guys I compared him to finished 1, 3, 4, 5 and 7 in receiving yardage last year. Andre Johnson had over 60 catches and 900 yards as a rookie and Dez Bryant (2 and 6) had 45/561-which is better than anyone else I showed, but certainly not other-worldy. You could continue with guys like Roddy White, Miles Austin, Michael Crabtee…

    AJ Green and Julio Jones were exceptions (Julio only played 2 games as a rookie, but had a very solid year last year with Ryan) and expecting a guy who came from a school where he only ran ‘9 routes’ and only saw 3 or 4 targets per game, to come in and be an immediate difference maker seems unfair. If you want to say the NYJ, in their position, shouldn’t have taken a flier, on an athelete, when they had more immediate needs, that’s another argument. Yes, we do want to see improvement, but haven’t we? I don’t watch any film, and I know you do. However, it does appear Hill is running better routes this year and he’s improved at getting off the line. He had 1 drop in the NE game. He also had 4 grabs for 84 yards.

    One thing we certainly ascertain, from this list: without solid QB play, even the highest regarded young WR will struggle. In year 2 Marshall caught 102 balls, with Cutler the full time starter. Vincent Jackson has never caught more than the 72 he caught last year.

    It’s NY. I get it, we’re impatient. Let’s not run this kid out of town. If you’re patient with Geno, you should be patient with the one young weapon he has..shouldn’t you?

  • Cole Patterson

    I suggest that Hill’s poor catching mechanics is pee wee football (ie: catching with the chest and not attacking the ball) not his failure to develop. I also suggest that he is unnaturally talented and does have much room to grow. I have far from given up on him and simply expressed my hope that he would improve. I only say his leash is limited because he was not an Idzik pick and the modern NFL has not patience for full development.

  • Lidman

    I can certainly see your point on the Idzik angle (see Lombardi..T Rich). Hopefully, he’s a worker and will become a better ‘catcher’. I tend to think ‘drops’ are an overrated stat. Just check out this:

    If Hill develops and becomes a 1200+ double digit TD WR, nobody will say anything about him dropping the ball. TO used to lead the league in drops. It would be great Boldin or White type hands, but if he doesn’t it’s not clear he can’t be a very good, if not great WR.

  • Harold

    Hill has one drop in two games, Gates had 3 dropsand has really been a disappointment this year after the camp he had. He seems like a slightly better David Clowney (that is not a compliment). Hill is getting better each week. Gates will get cut if he continues to play like this.

  • Mark Phelan

    Hill has been a tough-guy in the early going – something I don’t remember from last year.

    Gates had lots of praise in pre-season but it seems he can’t get past his reputation. Wouldn’t we love to seem his start catching, and God-forbid, returning punts?

  • Keith

    Holmes is officially back after that game vs the Bills!!! Kerley is the Jets 2nd best WR a the time. But as long as nobody gets hurt the Jets finally have some good options in the passing game. Kerley and Homles have to stay healthy and Hill just has to be coached up and keep his progress going and he should be fine.