Hill is healthy, new faces for Mangold

May, 2, 2013
5/02/13
5:03
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Stephen Hill stayed in the metropolitan area during the offseason to make sure he and the team doctor weren't such familiar acquaintances this upcoming season.

"I wanted to be focused so I could make sure I stayed out of the training room next year," Hill said.

[+] EnlargeStephen Hill
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesStephen Hill had a disappointing rookie season.
After a disappointing rookie season that ended in knee surgery, Hill is ready for an improved sophomore year. Hill had just 21 catches for 252 yards and three touchdowns last season, although two of those scores came in the first week.

"Everything health wise is 100 percent," Hill said. "Looking forward to just learning a lot this year, a lot more. Last year was a great learning experience but definitely looking forward to this year."

Hill had surgery in December and said he fully recovered around February. The season-ending knee surgery capped a rough season for Hill, as injuries limited him to just 11 games and he struggled to make a difference. After a five-catch, 89-yard, two-touchdown performance in week one against Buffalo, Hill never topped 55 yards in any remaining game, and didn't score after mid-October.

"I really don't even think about the performance last year," Hill said. "I know I just have to get better ever year. You're going to have flaws, faults and things like that. I'm just ready to just get this stuff started."

The Jets did not draft a receiver this year, which will allow Hill more opportunities to prove he can be that outside threat the Jets drafted him to be. Hill said he doesn't feel any pressure coming into the season, but believes he has a step up after getting a year under his belt. He added that he's looking forward to playing in new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg's system.

"I love it," Hill said. "Of course it's different from coach [Tony] Sparano's but coach Mornhinweg is definitely trying to put the ball in the air, let us receivers go get it."

NEW FACES FOR MANGOLD: When Nick Mangold lines up on opening day, he's going to have new faces to his left and right. Starting guard Matt Slauson signed with Chicago, while fellow starter Brandon Moore is currently a free agent. Those three had been the inside trio for the past three seasons.

"The biggest thing is going to be communication, getting a feel," Mangold said of the new line. "I played next to Brandon Moore for seven years, you kind of get a [comfort] with a guy. You have to build that. It takes time and you just don't come out of the gate with that. That's going to be a big emphasis this spring as long as learning the playbook."

In addition to his guards departing, Mangold will be prepping for his first season without teammate Darrelle Revis, who was traded to Tampa Bay. Mangold joined the Jets in 2006 and Revis followed the next year.

"Rev and I are pretty good friends, it was weird coming in the next day, him not being here, but that's part of the business," Mangold said. "Noting you can control so I wish him all the best but we have things to worry about here."

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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