Rookie wide receiver ArDarius Stewart continues to grow as he trusts in the process.
“They have a plan and I’m just following along with the plan,” Stewart said this week. “I’m going to play whatever role they want me to — special teams, offense, any position. I’m just ready. As far as being young guys, you have to work for respect in this league. That’s what we’re trying to do. We’re not going to be put down by it because we have guys in front of us. We’re going to support them while they’re on the field and when it’s time for us to get on the field, we’re going to execute.”
Stewart lined up on five offensive snaps against the Dolphins, but only needed one to make a splash. The third-round pick recorded the Jets’ second longest offensive play of the game and debatably the current catch of the year in Week 3. With 11:19 remaining in the first half and the Jets facing a third and 13, the Alabama product fully extended to reel in a Josh McCown 24-yard pass with one hand to keep the chains moving. Later that drive, Chandler Catanzaro gave the Jets a 3-0 lead on a 40-yard field goal.
“It was actually funny because Robby [Anderson] had just come out,” Stewart said. “He said I needed to be ready to go in because he had long routes that week. I said I was ready and Coach [Morton] called the play. We ran it over and over in practice. I watched it a couple times and saw how it was ran. I got in, had my chance and executed.”
The 5’11” 205-pounder also lined up as the Jets kick returner, a role he periodically filled in college. Stewart returned kicks for the Crimson Tide his sophomore and junior years and averaged 19.1 yards. In fact, he referred to returning as his “comfort zone.” However, Stewart didn’t have any opportunities to run one out as the Green & White defense shut out the Dolphins until the final drive of the game and the opening kick went for a touchback.
“When you watch his college tape, you see when he gets the ball in his hands after the catch and you watch him perform when he gets the ball in his hands on jet sweeps, he’s got a hell of a lot of run skill,” special teams coordinator Brant Boyer told the media today. “He knows how to set up his blockers and runs really hard. He’s taken some reps in the preseason as far as practice reps, but he hasn’t taken them in the game. We’re kind of taking a flier on that one and see how he does.”