In the eyes of many, Jeremy Kerley represents a solid, but not elite slot receiver. Well, that is all the New York Jets need at this point.
Quarterback Geno Smith has regressed badly over recent weeks while showing horrible decision-making. These led to a league-high 19 interceptions. While Smith should be held accountable by head coach Rex Ryan, who has given his struggling rookie another chance, it is understandable that most signal-callers would have a tough time with this group of receivers.
David Nelson and injured Josh Cribbs are nice for positional depth. Santonio Holmes is supposed to be dynamic talent while helping Gang Green make offensive plays. He looks far from healthy, but his demeanor on the sideline, smiling while his team was losing last week, was distasteful.
When Smith drops back to pass, he must feel confident that someone can bail him out. Kerley possesses great speed and gets open on a regular basis. Other receivers cannot create such separation. Last week, we saw New York’s capable defense stay on the field keeping them competitive, only to become fatigued and give up big plays while the game was on the line.
Kerely’s playing does not mean the Jets will suddenly become an elite passing attack, but he brings a vertical threat that others do not have. On Sunday, Smith should feel some freedom to throw deep passes. While playing at home with any remaining playoff hopes at stake, look for Kerley to make some things happen.