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Jets rookie Sauce Gardner ready to face Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle: 'This is what I dreamed about'

New York Jets rookie cornerback Sauce Gardner is ready for the biggest challenge of his young career Sunday when Gang Green faces Tyreek Hill, Jaylen Waddle and the explosive Miami Dolphins offense.

"This is what I dreamed about coming to the NFL," Gardner said this week, via the New York Post. "The goals that I have for myself like Rookie of the Year, All-Pro, Pro Bowl, all that type of stuff, I've got to go against guys like that in order to be recognized. It's a great opportunity. Me and D.J. [Reed] and the rest of the secondary was talking about it. It's a great opportunity to show the world what we can do."

In his young career, Gardner has already battled some good receivers like Amari Cooper, Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. But Sunday brings a different beast in Hill and Waddle.

The Dolphins boast speed no other offense can match. Hill leads the NFL with 477 receiving yards and is second in the NFL with 31 catches. Waddle is sixth in the league with 381 yards and leads all players with an 18.1 yards per catch average (among 66 qualifiers with at least 15 catches).

If the duo keeps up its current pace, Hill (119.3) and Waddle (95.3) would be the third pair of teammates in NFL history to both average 90-plus receiving yards per game in the same season (2000 Rams with Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt; 1995 Lions with Herman Moore and Brett Perriman).

"I went against guys that was fast like Jameson Williams from Bama. He was fast," Gardner said. "I ain't saying he's Tyreek Hill fast, but I've got certain things that I like to do so I can be able to hang with guys like that."

The No. 4 overall pick, Sauce has lived up to his billing early in the season. He's allowed nine catches on 19 targets for 101 yards and a TD through four games. In addition, the rookie has allowed 50-plus receiving yards in primary coverage to one player in 2022 (Higgins, two catches for 51 yds in Week 3).

"Decent," Gardner characterized his play. "I can always do better. I feel like I've played pretty well so far."

The rookie's mentality is what makes him a budding star.

"He's got this mindset like, 'All right, I may have screwed that one up, but you still got lucky, you didn't get that on me,'" coach Robert Saleh said. "That's his mindset. I love where he's at, he's growing every day, and like I said, he's only going to get better and eventually, where he won't need communication because he's just going to know immediately and he's going to do the communicating. So, he's a special one."

A special one with a big task Sunday against Hill and Waddle.

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