Jeremy Kerley said the new coaching staff last year never gave him an opportunity, Jeremy Kerley is right. Hearing players gripe about lack of use or opportunity with their old team is a story that gets retold every offseason, sometimes it's just sour grapes or delusions but this time Kerley is just stating the obvious.
"It was the opportunity I didn't get to actually play. That was the main reason (for the diminished production)." Kerley told Kyle Meinke of MLive.com. "New coaching staff came in, they already knew the guys they wanted to play. They already had their scheme going, they wanted bigger receivers."
It was obvious since the start of training camp, the Jets had Devin Smith, Chris Owusu and Quincy Enunwa ahead of Kerley on the depth chart. With Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker here it wasn't a surprise that Kerley wasn't getting snaps on the outside but he couldn't get many reps in the slot with the first-team at all. Everyone wondered why that was at first but eventually it became clear that the new coaching staff prepared receivers with size.
Well, size and versatility but that versatility also comes with size. Enunwa is a bigger and stronger receiver but he's also an excellent blocker. Owusu and Smith has speed and deep-play ability, Kerley is a good slot receiver but his game is short-to-intermediate and that's it. When Kerley had to play do to injuries and Enunwa's suspension he played well but as soon as the bigger, more versatile options returned Kerley was demoted back to fair catching duties.
Kerley never complained, but it was obvious he knew he was being phased out and now he's excited to join a team that throws the ball all over the field and all those targets that used to go to Calvin Johnson are going to have to be spread around.
"They sling the ball everywhere, so you always need a handful of receivers," Kerley said. "Everyone's going to get a chance to get balls in the scheme they (the Lions) have, and help the team put up points. So along with that, they have a West Coast schematic kind of plan, and I think that fits my skill set."
The Jets didn't not use Kerley because they didn't think he was good at what he does, they just simply didn't value what he does enough to use him much. The Lions will use him in his traditional slot role and he will get the opportunities, so he can get a chance to prove he can take advantage of those opportunities that he wasn't going to get with the Jets.
Chris Nimbley is the Editor-in-Chief of JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@cnimbley), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org)null