NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Jets’ receiving corps has been patched together all season. This Sunday in Baltimore doesn’t figure to be any different.
Needing a win in the worst way, there’s a chance the Jets may get one of their best offensive weapons back on the field.
Leading receiver Jeremy Kerley, who has been recovering from a dislocated left elbow suffered early in the Jets’ win over New Orleans on Nov. 3, was limited in practice on Wednesday. Kerley wore a red no-contact jersey and caught balls one-handed.
“We’ll see,” head coach Rex Ryan said, when asked if Kerley will play against the Ravens.
Rookie quarterback Geno Smith, who struggled mightily during last week’s loss in Buffalo, going 8-of-23 for 103 yards and four turnovers, seems to have a very good rapport with Kerley, who has a team-high 28 receptions and 347 yards in seven-plus games. The third-year receiver out of TCU was an integral part of the Jets’ 30-27 overtime win over New England on Oct. 20, catching eight balls for 97 yards and a touchdown. Kerley had five third-down receptions in the first half alone.
If Kerley returns, even on a limited basis, it could be a shot in the arm to the Jets psychologically considering they are coming off a horrendous 37-14 loss to the Bills that dropped them to 5-5. Though they lead the race for the final playoff berth in the AFC, the Ravens (4-6) will be even more desperate. What’s worse, the Jets have never won at M&T Bank Stadium in four tries.
So with Kerley by no means a lock to play, veteran Santonio Holmes also limited in practice this week due to a lingering hamstring injury, and David Nelson missing practice Thursday due to illness, the Jets again need another receiver to step up. They have been waiting on Stephen Hill, but the former second-round pick out of Georgia Tech has been largely ineffective this season. So much so that Ryan put him on notice earlier in the week.
Ryan sounded Wednesday like a coach who has lost faith in his player. In fact, the Daily News reported Hill was told he will lose snaps to Nelson on Sunday.
“I’ve been disappointed,” Ryan said. “There’s no doubt because we all see the potential that this young man has. He’s got the size, the speed, he’s tough enough [and] he has courage. Whether it was through something, maybe physically or whatever, maybe he hadn’t been 100 percent for whatever reason, but we’ll see. We’ll look at him. By now I think we’re all expecting, Jet fans are all expecting him to take the next step and for whatever reason it hadn’t been there yet. [It] doesn’t mean we’re giving up on the young man, but we want to see it.”
Hill has only 23 catches for 340 yards and a TD this season. Last season, he finished with 21 catches for 252 yards and three TDs.
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