Training camp started off rough for wide receiver Jeremy Kerley, who was criticized by his usually positive head coach.
Things got a lot better Sunday afternoon.
It was a busy afternoon for Kerley, who put the Jets up 7-0 midway through the first quarter with a 12-yard touchdown reception. Then, in the second quarter, Kerley bobbed and weaved for a 68-yard punt return for a touchdown, giving the Jets a 21-0 lead and a sense of inevitability about the afternoon.
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Kerley finished with four catches for 45 yards and a touchdown.
“I’ve been hurt; I’ve been banged up. I haven’t been 100 percent all the time like I can,” Kerley said. “Today was the best I felt in a long time. It’s been awhile [since I was] at 100 percent. Everything just came together today.”
While 2011 was a solid debut for Kerley, he never showed the consistency of a game-changing wide receiver. It was the emergence of Kerley early in the season that led the Jets to deal veteran wide receiver Derrick Mason to the Texans, but the impact was never there. Just one touchdown and 314 receiving yards marked his rookie season and he failed to find the separation needed to become an effective target down the field.
Sunday afternoon showed the type of explosive player that Kerley can be in this offense. He is one of the few home run hitters in the receiving corps. Due to injuries, Kerley played just once in preseason, perhaps a factor in why the Jets scored just one touchdown in four exhibition games.
Against the Bills, the offense looked efficient and found the end zone on four occasions.
“We knew what we had; we knew we just had to trust each other and bring it to the table,” Kerley said. “That’s what we did.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.