With Jeremy Kerley serving the first game of his four-game NFL suspension, rookie wideout Chad Hansen took 70% of the offensive snaps against the Buccaneers and registered his first three career receptions for 33 yards.
"It's huge for my confidence," Hansen said on Inside the Jets with Eric Allen and Bart Scott. "I think it's also huge for the confidence of [quarterback] Josh McCown and all the coaches to have in me. I think I went out there, showed that I could play and that the moment wasn't too big. I think that's a good base to build off of and hopefully it's just up from here."
The 2017 fourth-round pick has patiently awaited his opportunity as Kerley has been the primary slot receiver since he rejoined the Green & White in September. For the majority of his collegiate career, Hansen lined up outside the numbers. But he's embracing the challenges of life in the slot.
"The coverages are all different based on being inside versus outside," said Hansen, who tallied 92 receptions for 1,249 yards and 11 touchdowns his senior year at California. "As a receiver on the outside, you know the corner is the guy that's covering you. On the inside, you have to recognize if it's the safety, the outside linebacker or something like that. You have to be able to read that and react off that. The other thing is being able to work in space and in tight places. That's something you have to learn being a slot receiver and it's definitely different."
The 6'1", 202-pounder provides a big body in the slot as opposed to a smaller, fast-twitch player. Hansen is still improving his craft as offensive coordinator John Morton's system is much different than the hand signal based "Air Raid" scheme Hansen ran at Berkeley.
"It definitely takes some time," said Hansen, the California native, who will spend his bye week back on the West Coast with his family. "That's one thing they tell you when you get here is that it's going to take time and you're going to have to put in the work because it's not going to come easy to anybody. I learned that and figured that out pretty early. I think I'm still learning different ways to do things better and being able to pick up on new things that the older guys do well. I'm just trying to pick up on that."
Hansen has a simple goal for the remaining three games without Kerley and that's to get three wins. As for individual goals, he added, "I want to be go out there and be someone that McCown can trust and know that when he throws the ball in my direction, I'm going to come down with it."