Nov 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (11) against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The flux of Jets off-season moves has garnered praise and rightfully so. The Jets haven’t simply been just active this off-season thus far, but have made seemingly logical moves that have put important and quality pieces in place for a Jets team that needed to address key areas this off-season. One of the areas “addressed” has been the wide receiver position.
With the acquisition of former Bears, Dolphins and Broncos WR Brandon Marshall, the Jets WR corp has essentially gotten stronger overnight. With Brandon Marshall added to the corp, the Jets now have a bit of flexibility within the corp to do more than they been able to over the past few seasons or so. Perhaps most importantly, the Jets’ free agency shakeup included the releasing of one Percy Harvin, a move that was expected and shouldn’t affect the Jets passing game one way or another at this point.
One interesting “piece” within the Jets WR corp, is veteran WR Jeremy Kerley and where he will presumably fit. The Jets are expected to tap into the “deep” upcoming WR draft class, as there’s more than enough talented WRs the Jets will have a shot at. What seems to be getting lost in this off-season is how good and realiable a WR Jeremy Kerley really is.
Kerley has been a victim of erratic QB play and inconsistent play calling since being drafted by the Jets. There have been times during his tenure here in which he stepped on the field as the Jets number one WR. There have been times in which he was the team’s number three. Numbers aside, Kerley has yet to really find a place for himself in the Jets ever so changing offense under the respective coordinators.
That’s not a knock on Kerley. That, in my opinion, is a clear testament of the inconsistencies that have plagued the offensive side of the ball for the Jets over the past five or six years.
The Jets now find themselves constructing what looks to be a tough and highly respectable WR corp. Yes, I understand that the uncertainty of the QB position plays heavily into any potential success this WR corp will or won’t have. I get that. But the Jets seem adamant about addressing the issues at QB, something they made “clear” when trading for Ryan Fitzpatrick.
The Jets seem to be serious about two things regarding the QB position; upgrading it utilizing all viable options and motivating Geno Smith in the process. It’s a tedious yet effective strategy that I predict will work itself out one way or another under this new Jets regime if they continue to stay committed.
Next: Jeremy Kerley continued...
Dec 28, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (11) points during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
The inconsistent play at the QB position has never been, nor will it ever be a legitimate enough reason to not upgrade the skill positions around the QB if you have the means to do so.
This, my friends, is what appears to be the strategy (thus far) of choice on the part of the Jets. This upgrading of the WR corp should certainly impact each WR separately and in their own way respectively. But, with Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, two WRs who have proven themselves in their own respective ways, garnering most of the defense’s toughest attention, one would have to think that the one target that benefits greatly from this, is veteran WR Jeremy Kerley.
A couple of things I love about Kerley:
– He’s deceptively fast and incredibly shifty. He can stop and cut on a dime very well.
– His route running is underrated. “Underrated” is me being slightly modest as I don’t want to overstate it but his route running has been very good and has gotten better over the past few years. He separates as well as any WR I’ve seen do it and he doesn’t just do it with speed, he does it with his deceptively good route running.
– He’s tough. Kerley takes hits and will catch over the middle. He’s not afraid to go up and get an errant pass when necessary.
– He’s a very solid YAC receiver. He catches the ball and when in space, he proactively seeks out the first down or goal line in a way that shows his hunger.
Next: Final Thoughts
Sep 22, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley (11) reacts after scoring a touchdown during the first half against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Kerley consistently gets overlooked by some, if not most in Jet Nation because he’s not the flashy type. He isn’t going to take the top off a defense, but he can effectively and quietly sneak through a defense causing damage underneath in more ways than one. If the Jets are truly going to implement the spread offense like most believe they will, Kerley’s attributes and skill set makes him a perfect weapon within said offense. I believe he can become a match-up nightmare in and out of the slot, based on specific play designs.
I know it’s easy to get caught up or excited on the new faces that have already arrived, or the old faces that have returned, or even the thought of whatever potentially new face you would like to see the Jets draft in April.
However, there’s a veteran face here right on this team in Kerley that could and should certainly see a jump in targets in 2015 regardless of the next moves on offense the Jets make. Let’s not forget about the wily, shifty and talented veteran WR we already have on the roster that stands to benefit from the upgrades around him. If Kerley remains healthy, I see him having a pretty big season for the Jets.