After barely playing in the offense during the season’s first two games, New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley opened his account for the 2015 season as he played a prominent role in his team’s tough 24-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. However, it remains to be seen if he opened the eyes of the Jets coaching staff as well.
Kerley got his first catch of the year on the game’s opening drive, sitting in the slot with regular starter Eric Decker out with a knee injury. He finished the game with six catches for 33 yards and a touchdown, not the kind of numbers that will get him instantly into the rotation at receiver but certainly enough to show that he can make some plays. In other words, that nothing has changed to make him less effective than in seasons past.
Arguably the team’s biggest playmaker over the past two years, Kerley, who signed a four-year, $16 million extension last year, has fallen out of favor with the new coaching staff. His catch on the game’s first drive was the first time all year he’s been targeted.
Now with Decker and fellow wide receiver Chris Owusu out for the Eagles game, suddenly Kerley was thrown into the mix.
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He has no clue if this was a bit of a statement to the coaching staff of his abilities.
“Who knows? I just wanted to get the win,” Kerley said. “That would have been better to open up eyes to me.”
It was a rough afternoon overall for the Jets offense, as they fell behind 24-0 late in the second quarter. But it was the little-used Kerley stood out in the eyes of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The injury-depleted Jets, also without bell cow running back Chris Ivory, were forced to utilize Kerley in a more prominent role in the offense this week. He stepped up and nearly had a spectacular catch in the second quarter but his elbow came down out of bounds before his second foot hit the turf.
“I think we felt confident going into the game with the guys we had in the huddle. It was competitive out there and we played hard. I thought JK stepped up and made some nice catches today,” Fitzpatrick said. “I like the way he plays. He’s competitive out there.”