One day after head coach Rex Ryan said that wide receiver Jeremy Kerley would “hopefully” be on the field this Sunday night against the Panthers, the second-year wide receiver was equally optimistic that he’d be making his preseason debut this weekend.
Kerley has been out most of training camp with a hamstring injury and has yet to see the field in preseason action. Largely considered the Jets’ third receiver and an important part of their special teams, Kerley did not participate in Tuesday night’s practice at MetLife Stadium.
“It’s a possibility,” Kerley said of his chances to play this weekend. “We’re doing everything we can right now to get it stronger. Hopefully now when the time is ready, I’ll be ready to go out there. Right now, that’s the plan to be out there. I hope so; I’m ready.”
It will be a welcome bit of news for a receiving corps that has been battered with injuries. The team’s three most-experienced receivers — Santonio Holmes, Chaz Schilens and Kerley — did not play last weekend in a 26-3 loss to the Giants. With Kerley nearing a return, the Jets get an injection of speed in their offense.
On Monday, Schilens told Metro that he is hopeful his injured ankle will have healed enough to see action on Sunday night or next weekend in the preseason finale at Philadelphia. For a second straight day Holmes did limited drills, wearing a red pinnie to signify no contact.
Kerley said the injury happened on the first day of training camp and was a result “of something lingering.” The hamstring pull happened in the middle of running a route and he’s been sidelined since. He rode the stationary bike on Tuesday night during practice.
Early in training camp, Ryan criticized Kerley, saying he was “disappointed” with his development and the player’s injury. Kerley is set to prove his worth to Ryan including a better mastery of the playbook.
“The only way to truly get in there and master the playbook is to get in there and rep it,” Kerley said. “I haven’t got many reps at all. I need to get back on the field right now to develop more.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.