Jets fans hung their head in defeat upon receiving news that their two biggest superstars would be out for the season. Playoff dreams seemingly shattered, the Jets were to take the field in an effort to fight for a solid draft pick. In the face of adversity the Jets “who’s who” of offensive weapons are beginning to step up to the plate. You can see the young wide receivers, and most importantly, Mark Sanchez, develop chemistry and achieve success.
With that said, allow me to introduce the rise of Jeremy Kerley.
In his second year in the NFL Kerley has exploded onto the scene of talented young Wide Receiver’s in the NFL. Given the opportunity to start following Holmes’ season ending injury, Kerley has quickly risen to the top of the New York Jets depth chart.
In 2011, his first year in the NFL, Kerley recorded 29 catches for 314 yards and one Touchdown in 14 games. Often missing in action behind two high profiled wide outs in Holmes and Burress, Kerley was merely a non factor in the Jets offense.
Through seven games this season Kerley has 25 receptions for 435 yards and two Touchdown’s. He is averaging an astronomical 17.4 yards per catch, good for sixth in the NFL. He averages the same YPC as arguably the most talented Wide Receiver in the NFL, Baltimore’s Torrey Smith. He has receptions of 26, 36, 45, and 66 yards this season, proving to be a serious deep threat to secondaries across the NFL. Last year the longest receptions by a Jets wide out were 38 yard grabs by both Holmes and, go figure, Kerley. Displaying his ability to run routes and catch football’s, Kerley’s always present speed makes him very fun to watch.
Last week against the Patriots Kerley undoubtedly turned in the best game of his young career. He recorded career highs in Targets (11), receptions (7), and yards (120). He will continue to see the bulk of Quarterback Mark Sanchez’s targets moving forward as the two have seemingly built solid chemistry. Sanchez’s poor deep route accuracy requires him to have a playmaking, yards after the catch, wide receiver like Kerley.
How ever this season plays out, the skill set and talent that Kerley will bring to the table next year with Holmes, possibly, back on the field and the potential development of Stephen Hill could ultimately make the Jets the legitimate passing team they have striven to be the last two years. The potential for number 11 is unlimited, and he could put up incredible, pro bowl type numbers. He is well on his way to a 1,000 yards receiving, something the Jets have not done since Jerricho Cotchery recorded 1,130 yards in 2007.
It will be exciting to watch the remainder of the season unfold as the Jets find themselves right in the thick of a Wild Card, and even AFC East division championship hunt. If they are to achieve their goals Kerley will be the centerpiece in not only making the plays, but keeping opposing defenses honest, opening holes in the running game for Shonn Greene, McKnight, and Powell.
Every year (Victor Cruz last year) somebody steps up and leads their injury riddled team to do something amazing, is this Jeremy Kerley’s year?
What do you think? Is Kerley the real deal? Please feel free to leave your comments, they are much appreciated!