So why did the Jets install rookie receiver Jeremy Kerley as the top kickoff and punt returner for 2011?
“He’s the best one,” coach Rex Ryan said Friday, via comments distributed by the team.
As to punts, however, Kerley was the best in large because because Rex Ryan opted to keep safety Jim Leonhard on the sidelines.
“I’m not going to have Jim [Leonhard] do it, coming off the injury that he had,” Ryan said, referring to a broken leg Leonhard suffered in practice prior to last season’s blowout loss to the Patriots. “He wants to, but we drafted this young man to be a returner. He’s exactly what we thought we were getting. [Coach Mike Westhoff] really likes him and if Westy thinks he’s our best, then that’s what we’ll do. Jim Leonhard, I don’t think that’s good business right there.”
Kerley also is in the mix to fill the Wildcat role in the team’s offense, given the defection of Brad Smith to Buffalo. Other candidates are LaDainian Tomlinson and Joe McKnight.