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Rookies Anderson, Burris late-season bright spots for Jets

By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.December 14, 2016
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson, top, catches a pass over San Francisco 49ers strong safety Jaquiski Tartt (29) during overtime of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. The Jets won 23-17. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
New York Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson, top, catches a pass over San Francisco 49ers strong safety Jaquiski Tartt (29) during overtime of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. The Jets won 23-17. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Robby Anderson is a low-key, soft-spoken guy who would rather make noise with his play than his mouth.

Well, the rookie wide receiver has been pretty loud on the field lately.

Anderson set career highs with six catches for 99 yards in the Jets’ 23-17 overtime win at San Francisco last Sunday. In the last four games, he leads New York with 263 yards receiving on 15 catches while becoming a key part of the Jets’ offense.

“I mean, winning was the most fun part,” Anderson said after practice Tuesday. “But it’s been a lot more fun being involved in the offense more.”

He’s fourth on the team with 34 catches and ranks eighth among rookie wide receivers in team history with 464 yards receiving, with names such as Al Toon, Rob Moore, Wayne Chrebet, Wesley Walker and Keyshawn Johnson ahead of him on the list.

Not bad for an undrafted free agent out of Temple who came to training camp as a long shot to make the Jets’ roster.

Anderson is hardly the most imposing guy in the locker room, standing at a gangly 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds. But he’s making big plays down the stretch for New York, including a leaping 26-yard catch on a pass from Bryce Petty that helped set up the winning score against San Francisco.

“I love that,” Anderson said. “Since I first got my opportunity, I wanted to help the team in any way possible.”

With Petty starting the final four games of the season, Anderson likely will get plenty more chances at making plays.

“He’s kind of one of those, as we like to call him in our QB room, a QB-friendly guy,” Petty said. “When you’re running and escaping, he just finds where you are.”

The two worked together a lot during the preseason, when Anderson led the NFL with 264 yards receiving on 13 catches.

“The film speaks,” Anderson said. “Me and him have been connecting and making some big plays. I love being out there with him and playing and contributing.”

Fellow rookie Juston Burris has been staying patient all season while hoping to get opportunities in the Jets’ secondary.

The fourth-round cornerback out of North Carolina State has just five tackles on defense, but had two of them and a pass defensed against the 49ers while seeing his first real extended playing time in the secondary.

“I felt comfortable and just trying to get better every day,” Burris said. “I think that’s what I’ve been doing in practice. Obviously, I haven’t been playing as much in the games.”

He has played in every game this season, but mainly only special teams, where he ranks second on the Jets with six tackles.

Against San Francisco, Burris played a season-high 50 of 57 defensive snaps, second among Jets cornerbacks to Darrelle Revis after playing no defensive snaps against Indianapolis the previous game.

“They gave me an opportunity on Sunday,” Burris said, “and I just took it and ran with it.”

Burris played the snaps that backup Darryl Roberts has usually been getting this season.

“I wanted to take a look at Burris,” coach Todd Bowles said. “We’d like to see him a little bit more.”

Buster Skrine is in the concussion protocol and is uncertain to play, especially with a short week. So Burris could be in for lots of action Saturday night against Miami — a welcome possibility for a guy who played many snaps in training camp and the preseason.

“I understand what’s going on,” Burris said. “We’ve got a lot of guys in front of me, a lot of guys who have experience. I know my role. My role then was special teams. I was just trying to embrace my role and do the best I could on that, and now, my job is to try to help this defense win.”

Burris says he picks Revis’ brain on a daily basis, trying to get pointers to improve his game.

“He’s a guy who’s played this position and played it the way I want to play the position,” Burris said. “He’s been dominant, and that’s the way I want to be.”

New York’s leaky secondary has been a big issue throughout the season, with the Jets ranking 22nd in passing defense. Revis and Skrine have struggled, and Roberts and Marcus Williams have had their issues at times, too.

With Revis no lock to be back next season, Burris — like Anderson — could be giving the Jets a glimpse at their future during the final few games.

“We’ve got a lot of depth and a lot of young guys who are hungry and ready to play,” Burris said. “Obviously, we’ve got a veteran team and a lot of older guys up on the depth charts, but we’ve got a lot of guys ready to play and biding their time. We just have to continue to progress and get better in practice.”


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