Kerely evolves into viable third down weapon

The New York Jets completed 11-of-21 third down attempts during last week's 30-27 overtime win over the New England Patriots. Third year pro Jeremy Kerley is quickly becoming one of Geno Smith's most reliable targets, particularly in third down situations.

When Jeremy Kerley was drafted out of TCU many thought he wasn't going to get any chance on offense playing behind Derrick Mason, Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes. But getting a start on special teams returning punts was a perfect start for him.

But last season was a very strange one for the Jets as they only had one veteran wide receiver in Holmes and a rookie in former Georgia Tech standout Stephen Hill. But when Holmes was lost for the season with the Lisfranc injury, Kerley was considered the only true wide receiving threat the Jets had.

While it was very unfair of Rex Ryan and then offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano to throw all this pressure on a player that was just in his sophomore season in the NFL, fans were pleased to see Kerley handle it and becoming a top third down target.

But while Geno Smith has started to shine for the Gang Green in the 2013 season and becoming the second Jets' rookie quarterback to beat Bill Belichick's Patriots, you can see the chemistry developing between the rookie quarterback and Kerley on the field.

"I think he and I have got a real good feel for each other," admitted Kerley of his rapport with Smith. "We've been making sure that the reps have been consistent over and over again, making sure that we capitalize on every opportunity that we have. If we don't capitalize on it right there, we try to get it again, if not on the field (then) in the film room."

But it was a great day for Kerley hauling in eight receptions for 97 yards as well as a 12 yard touchdown catch in the end zone against the Patriots on the opening drive of the game in the first quarter. You wonder if he had extra motivation to go out and have a great performance.

"It's just stuff that we had practiced and practiced over and over again, so it wasn't like it was a surprise," noted Kerley. "Every third down I felt like the ball was coming to me, as (I do) every play, but more if it's on third down, so I just made sure that I made the catch, secured the position, got the yards."

But right now Kerley is becoming a dangerous weapon for Smith and for the Jets. You knew that at the start of the season if Holmes wasn't at full strength and still injured that Kerley as well as Hill would pick up the slack and right now they are becoming a pair of formidable weapons for the Jets passing attack.


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