FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Quincy Enunwa will leave the labels to everyone else.
He’s listed as the New York Jets’ No. 3 wide receiver, but is considered by many as more of a tight end. Or, even an H-back.READ MORE: First Case Of Omicron Variant Reported In New Jersey
The answer is simple, as far as Enunwa is concerned.
“I’m a playmaker, I guess,” he said with a big smile Thursday.
Through two games, Enunwa is leading the Jets with 13 catches for 146 yards and a touchdown. And that’s for a team that also has wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, and running back Matt Forte in the mix.
“It feels pretty good right now,” Enunwa said of his strong start. “I don’t want to get too high. It’s only been two weeks.”
But he has gone from being perhaps an afterthought by many fans to one of the most-added players in fantasy football circles this week after a career-high 92 yards on six catches against Buffalo last week.
And, if Marshall is unable to play Sunday at Kansas City with knee and foot ailments, Enunwa could be in line for even more action — on the field and in online leagues.
“I hate that,” a smiling Enunwa said of all the talk about his fantasy value.
“I mean, it’s cool because it has more people following me, so more people want to see, ‘OK, how’s Quincy going to do this week?’ At the same time, these aren’t fans. So, the minute I don’t have enough points for their fantasy (team), then I’ll hear that. That’s almost like, OK, well, I’m blocking you.”
The fact Enunwa is even factoring prominently in the fantasy football conversation is a bit of an early season surprise.
What he’s doing on the field — in reality — is less stunning to the guys who play with him.
“I think a lot of it for him, he’s come a long way as a receiver, is his confidence,” quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick said.
“He wants the ball. He’s getting open. He’s making tough, contested catches. A lot of it is just his mental state, how confident he is as a football player right now.”READ MORE: NYPD: 1 Dead, Another Injured In Apparent Drug-Related Shooting At Brooklyn Airbnb
Enunwa was a sixth-round draft pick out of Nebraska in 2014 and spent most of his rookie season on the Jets’ practice squad before a late-season promotion.
Up until that point, his NFL career had been notable mainly for his arrest for domestic violence simple assault in October 2014 — charges that were later dropped.
As a result, he was suspended by the NFL for four games last season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, but came back in Week 11 as a consistent contributor the rest of the season.
Enunwa finished with 22 catches for 315 yards, starting six games while establishing himself as a strong blocker in the run game.
“Whether it be in the run game or the pass game, that’s what I want to be,” he said. “I don’t want to go out there and be like, ‘Oh, man, I’m the No. 3 receiver.’ I’m a guy who’s going to go out there and just do my job. That’s it. I don’t want to do more than my job.”
He approached the offseason with a renewed sense of dedication, working on all aspects of the game and wanting to make an even bigger impact on the offense.
Offensive coordinator Chan Gailey said Enunwa has improved his route running, his hands and expanding his knowledge of the offense. Coach Todd Bowles said Enunwa’s offseason work ethic was better.
“Just being able to know what I’m supposed to do, Year 2 in the offense, I don’t have to worry about, ‘OK, what am I supposed to do on this play? What’s going to happen on this play?'” Enunwa said. “Now, it’s more so, ‘What’s the defense doing? OK, now react. Don’t think, just react.'”
Working closely with Fitzpatrick last season and throughout the offseason workouts has also helped.
“It hasn’t just been good for him, it’s been great for our offense,” Fitzpatrick said. “We feed off of his confidence and how physical he is and the different plays that he’s made in the first two games.”
At 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, Enunwa is an imposing figure who looks the part of a bruising tight end — or a linebacker. Against smaller defensive backs he can use his size and strength to get to passes and bust through tackle attempts.
Whether it’s lined up on the outside, in the slot or on the line of scrimmage, Enunwa has been able to make a difference so far for the Jets.
“He’s worked very hard to get where he is at this point,” Gailey said, “and I think he’ll do well with whatever role we have him in.”MORE NEWS: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Back On Stage After Pandemic Shutdown With Message Of Hope
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