FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP)Robby Anderson believes he’s one of the NFL’s top wide receivers – even if the numbers this season don’t necessarily show it.
He has 36 catches for 546 yards and three touchdowns for the New York Jets, not exactly eye-popping production.
But Anderson has come on lately while re-establishing himself as a key part of Adam Gase’s offense, catching 11 passes for 187 yards and a score in the last two games.
”I honestly feel like I’m one of the best receivers in the NFL when given the opportunity,” Anderson said Thursday. ”I think if you look when I’m given those opportunities and get those multiple targets, I put up those numbers that people who are considered top receivers do. And I feel that I’ve done that on a consistent basis throughout my career when given the opportunity.
”I’m just trying to make the best plays and do the best I can to contribute to the team.”
The 26-year-old Anderson could become a free agent after this season and could look for big bucks. He was excited when he wasn’t dealt by New York at the trade deadline in October. But his future with the team appears murky now.
”It’s going to work itself out,” he said. ”I’m not really too focused on that right now. I’m focused on playing the Dolphins (on Sunday) and getting a W.”
Anderson also isn’t concerned his lack of big-time production will affect his potential payday in March.
”Sometimes you can’t dictate a player’s potential and overlook what they have done,” he said. ”I don’t really think that that’s going to be a factor. I’m still the player I am. It’s just the situation that’s been going on.”
Before the season, Anderson spoke about his goal of being considered a top-5 receiver in the league. This season has done nothing to diminish that.
”Yeah, of course. I believe that I am that,” Anderson said. ”I know the work I put in and I know what I’m capable of doing. Numbers don’t always necessarily determine that. People can have like 1,200 yards and one touchdown and their team’s not winning. There are some dudes who play on Super Bowl-winning teams and they might have like 600 yards.
”It’s to people’s opinions, the value that you bring to your team.”
Anderson had a breakout game against Dallas in Week 6 when he had six catches for 125 yards and a touchdown in New York’s 24-22 win.
But, as the rest of the Jets’ offense struggled mightily after that, so did Anderson. He wasn’t getting many balls thrown his way, so his chances of making plays dwindled. In the next five games, Anderson had just one catch in three contests, two in another and four in the other.
Anderson could have been frustrated, but he opted to not go to Gase or the coaches, or even quarterback Sam Darnold to try to have a bigger role.
”No, because they obviously know what I’m capable of doing,” he said. ”It’s not like they’re purposely doing that.”
One knock on the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Anderson throughout his first four NFL seasons has been his tendency to be outmuscled by bigger defensive backs. The Jets have worked with Anderson over the last several weeks on making hard catches in traffic and going up above defenders to come down with contested balls.
”He’s been attacking the ball,” Gase said. ”If it’s a shorter throw or if there’s somebody in there, he’s been aggressive toward the ball and I think its translated over to the games.”
He has been noticeably more physical and making receptions he might not have made in the past.
”I mean, that’s obvious, you know?” Anderson said of his effort to be more physical. ”I’m trying to do whatever it takes.”
Anderson has been known primarily as a speedster, a vertical threat who can stretch the field and change a game on one play.
By adding a physical element to his game, Anderson becomes an even greater threat to make plays – all over the field.
”We’ve been talking with him and what he wanted was the variety of routes and being able to do those type of things,” Gase said, ”where, even though there’s a little traffic in there, he’s been able to do all of that.”
Darnold has also focused on improving his timing with Anderson.
”When you have a guy that is so fast like Robby, you have to make sure you’re on time or else you’re going to miss him,” Darnold said. ”I think we’ve done a lot better job or I’ve done a lot better job of staying on time and on rhythm with him.”
NOTES: RB Le’Veon Bell sat out practice with an illness. Gase wasn’t immediately certain whether Bell could also miss Friday. … S Jamal Adams (ankle), OL Chuma Edoga (knee), S Matthias Farley (rib/ankle), CB Arthur Maulet (calf) and CB Brian Poole (concussion) also did not practice. … DE Henry Anderson, LT Kelvin Beachum, CB Maurice Canady, TE Ryan Griffin, G Alex Lewis, NT Steve McLendon, WR Demaryius Thomas and LB Paul Worrilow were limited.
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