NEW YORK (WFAN) – When Jets head coach Rex Ryan told Jeremy Kerley to step it up, the wide receiver heard the message loud and clear.
“The head coach wants me to step up, I’ll step up,” the Jets’ second-year wideout told reporters after Sunday’s practice. “It’s as simple as that.”
A fifth-round draft pick in 2011, Kerley was quickly thrown into New York’s offense as the primary punt returner and slot receiver last year as a rookie. Ryan said Kerley struggled to grasp new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano’s offense.
“It was a new offense to all of us,” Kerley said. “Guys were fighting to learn it and learn it fast. Some guys pick it up quicker than other guys. I’ve definitely got it now, so I’m just waiting for my chance to get back on the field.”
Kerley has been sidelined since Friday — the team’s opening day at camp – when he injured his hamstring, but seems eager to get back on the field.
“I hope it’s shorter than (a week),” said Kerley. “I’m doing everything I can to get back. That’s all I can do … hopefully, it’s only a week.”
Ryan personally told Kerley what he told the media.
“We talked for a little bit,” said Kerley. “He kind of told me he was disappointed as well. I said I was disappointed in myself. I felt like I let the team down a little bit. … Guys are out there working hard, so we definitely don’t want to be short on numbers.”
Ryan expects Kerley to go out and the field and produce for the Jets’ offense.
“With Jeremy, understand I’m disappointed because I expect so much from him,” the head coach said. “He had really taken off, and at the end of the year he was one of the premier punt returners in the league, and then he was doing a great job in the slot. That’s what we’ve got to get him back to. We’ve got to get him back on the practice field. When I saw him go down with the hamstring I was like, ‘Ugh.’ So, I expect him to step back up once he gets healthy to come back in and be the player we expect him to be.”
Will Kerley step it up and have a big season? Sound off in the comments section below…