Jets rookie wide receiver Chad Hansen is making the most of his opportunities.
Sunday against the Chiefs, Hansen registered two catches for 25 yards, both of which resulted in third-down conversions. Each of the rookie's receptions eventually led to points, including quarterback Josh McCown's score to give the Jets a 38-31 lead.
"Chad Hansen made some big third downs for us," wide receiver Jermaine Kearse said after the game. "He came up huge. He's been playing really well for us and we just have to continue to build off that."
For the majority of the early part of the season, Hansen remained in the shadows of the receiving corps as Robby Anderson, Kearse and Jeremy Kerley were all playing at a high level. Since Kerley's suspension began, Hansen has received a significant spike in playing time.
In the first nine weeks of the season, the Cal product played in 13.4% of the team's offensive snaps and didn't receive a single target. In Weeks 10-13, Hansen has lined up in 53.9% of the plays and has registered five receptions for 58 yards. Of his five catches, four have resulted in first downs and three converted on third down.
"It's good for him," McCown said this week. "Chad's a hard worker and comes out every day. When you have different guys that are getting a lot of reps, Chad steps in and when Robby needs to take a break, Chad can step in and play his spot, he can play the slot and he can play the back side. He's been an asset for us and he gets in there and it's great for him. It's fun to get to see him get rewarded and have an opportunity to make plays in the game and catch some balls. He made some big first downs for us. I think it'll do nothing but good things for his confidence."
The 6'2", 202-pounder patiently awaited his chance as he took extra reps after practice on the JUGS machine daily. Now that he's a part of the rotation, he proved to himself that he belongs on the field on Sundays.
"Just confidence in knowing that I'm good enough to be out there and play with the best of them," Hansen said of the biggest difference for him since he was drafted. "I think that I've proved myself to this team that I'm good enough. I just want to make sure that they know no moment is too big for me and I think that's something that I've proved so far. I've been going out there and doing my best against the players that I've lined up against."
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Head coach Todd Bowles said Hansen has indeed proven no moment is too big for him and as he gets more experience, he'll improve and help the team more.
"It can accelerate the trust, not the development," Bowles said regarding Hansen's third-down conversions against the Chiefs. "He's still going to have to see some things, but he's out there playing hard and he's playing well."
As Hansen's rookie year is nearing a close with Denver ahead and three games left after that, he wants to build on the foundation he's laid.
"I want to be able to make more plays," he said. "I want to take advantage of the opportunities the team gives me and Josh gives me. I just want to be ready for when that happens."