The degree of difficulty spiked again on Monday, when the Jets announced No. 1 receiver Quincy Enunwa will have season-ending neck surgery.
Enunwa, who declined interview requests after practice, won’t play this season after injuring his neck Aug. 5 in a noncontact drill at the team’s intrasquad scrimmage. After seeking a second opinion, he decided to have surgery. The rehab time will be at least six months, according to coach Todd Bowles, who said doctors don’t consider the injury career-threatening.
“Honestly, I didn’t even see the ball,” Enunwa said of his dazzling 34-yard first catch against the Bills. “The lights are so bright there. I kind of threw my hands up and so my hands are like this [holding them a yard apart] and then I was squeezing it. I got lucky, I guess, or it was skill, whatever you want to call that.” As the losses piled up and the frustration boiled over, Jets WR Quincy Enunwa said he lost his way.
Wide receiver Quincy Enunwa came oh-so-close to qualifying, but he missed out on a $1.2 million raise due to a technicality. Even though the former sixth-round pick saw enough action over the past two seasons to qualify, he didn’t get a salary bump because he’s no longer on his rookie contract. Let’s explain.
Another way to look at Enunwa’s sure-handed start is to convert his receiving numbers into a “receiver rating” using the NFL‘s passer rating formula. Enunwa dropped a Christian Hackenberg pass in the front of the end zone and took a step before he fell to the ground. The trainers attended to the Nebraska product, who eventually got up on his own and walked slowly to the Jets locker room.
It also means he has only two accrued seasons, not three, so he won’t be an unrestricted free agent until 2019. Good for the Jets, bad for Enunwa, one of their better young players.
Observers might not have known about how good Enunwa is after the catch, but all you have to do is go to YouTube to watch one of the last plays of his Nebraska career, his 99-yard reception against Georgia in the 2014 Gator Bowl.
Consider that his back-to-back receptions on the same “rail” route to end the first quarter combined for 69 yards. That’s the same yardage he had in last year’s Game 15 overtime win over New England, also on two catches. We’re mixing apples and oranges here, but doesn’t it say something about Enunwa’s emergence that he has set and then tied his single-game yardage best, as modest as it is, in the last three games he’s played as a Jet?
That’s some fast company, but Enunwa gives the polite but unmistakable impression that he belongs in the conversation. He’s looking forward to finishing strong these last five games, beginning on the Monday night stage against Indianapolis, not just for himself but for what it will mean to the wideout group going forward Jets jersey authentic. It’s intriguing to think that some combination of Brandon Marshall, Decker, Enunwa, Robbie Anderson, Charone Peake, Jalin Marshall and Devin Smith will bring their different skills to the table for the Jets’ 2017 offense.
Early in the final stanza, Enunwa made the catch of the Jets’ season. It was so good that the score was waved off on the field, but replay officials overturned the call and ruled the second-year WR indeed had control of the ball and got his body in bounds in the back corner of the end zone. “Honestly, I didn’t think I was getting the ball,” Enunwa said. “The coverage kind of looked like I shouldn’t get the ball, but Fitz believed in me to make a play. So I did my best to go up there and make that play and it felt great afterwards.”
There were problems on the field and tempers flared in the locker room. Enunwa says he let the negative creep in and that impacted his approach. “Anytime you hear your head coach make comments like that about you, it definitely helps you on the field, so I appreciate him saying that, and I think it’s cool that Dennis came out,” Enunwa said, adding in his precise way that he’s not perfect but he’s striving to be.