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Emergence of young receiving core provides Jets with hope

Emergence of young receiving core provides Jets with hope

Everyone knows the Jets need to resolve their quarterback dilemma. Josh McCown is playing well, but he's too old to lead the Jets for years to come.

But 2017 is evidence that whoever Gang Green decides to lead their franchise under center beginning in 2018, their new passer will have some weapons to work with.

AN OCT. 29, 2017, FILE PHOTO,

Second-year receiver Robby Anderson has become the Jets' big-time playmaker.

(Seth Wenig/AP)

Robby Anderson and Jermaine Kearse have both emerged as key offensive pieces, with Anderson the most promising. He racked up over 100 receiving yards yet again against the Chiefs on Sunday, the second straight week he's been in triple digits and the third time in his last five games passing that mark.

While his lack of a touchdown reception snapped his streak of five consecutive games with a score, that doesn't change the reality that Anderson, an undrafted free agent signed in 2016, has become a go-to receiver for McCown and the Jets.

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The 24-year-old leads the team with 821 receiving yards — which ranks 13th in the NFL — and seven touchdowns. He's second on the team with 49 receptions.

The man who leads the Jets in that department? Kearse, who was acquired in the offseason from the Seahawks in exchange for Sheldon Richardson.

The 27-year-old has already set a career high with 51 receptions and tied his career high with five touchdowns. His total of 677 receiving yards falls just shy of his single-season best of 685 yards back in 2015, a number he'll almost assuredly pass Sunday in Denver.

And he's coming off a big-time performance against Kansas City, pacing the Jets offense with 157 receiving yards and nine catches, both career bests.

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"You see young guys across the board making plays for our team on both sides of the ball," McCown said Monday, noting the impact of Kearse and Anderson on offense. "I feel like I see young guys emerging as leaders and whether it's with their play or with their voice, or both, they're stepping up.

"I think for us the next four weeks and the future with this group, you have to be excited about what you see in the young talent."

And while the duo of Anderson and Kearse is impressive, that doesn't even account for Quincy Enunwa, who was placed on injured reserve and underwent season-ending neck surgery back in August.

Enunwa, still just 25 years old, was expected to lead a supposedly thin receiving core prior to the injury after accumulating 857 yards on 58 receptions in 2016. But when he expectedly returns in 2018, he'll join a more talented group than the one he left.

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Todd Bowles has been pleased with his team's development as the season has progressed, including his receivers.

"Guys are working hard and they're playing together," Bowles said Monday. "We're fighting every week and we're competing. I'm pleased about that. We just have to go out and clean up some more mistakes and get better."

And the Jets still have these four weeks to improve on their mistakes, giving even more time for their receivers to develop. But who will be throwing to that group in 2018 is still anyone's guess.

new york jets
robby anderson
jermaine kearse
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