Geno Smith gets most of his receivers back after rough patch

Jeremy Kerley (11) runs with the ball on

Jeremy Kerley (11) runs with the ball on a 26-yard reception from quarterback Geno Smith as Tampa Bay Buccaneers middle linebacker Mason Foster (59) chases him during the first half. (Sept. 8, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

advertisement | advertise on newsday

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Is Geno Smith's biggest problem himself or the lack of weaponry at his disposal? Coming off three straight losses in which his execution was dismal, the Jets' rookie quarterback might have a chance to prove what he can do with a full complement of receivers against Oakland Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

Slot receiver Jeremy Kerley, who missed the past three games with a dislocated left elbow, will return to the lineup. Wide receiver Santonio Holmes (hamstring), who was limited to three plays last week against Miami, will play a larger role, and tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. also will be available for the Jets (5-7).

It will be the first time Kerley and Holmes have played together since Week 4. Only wide receiver Stephen Hill (knee), who was downgraded to questionable Friday afternoon, is uncertain.

"I'm excited about it," Kerley said. "I think [Holmes] is excited about it, and hopefully Geno is excited about it."

One thing is for sure: Coach Rex Ryan is thrilled. "Every single player is probable," Ryan said before Hill's status changed. "We're as healthy as we've been in a month . . . We don't make excuses, but obviously, having your top guys out there healthy makes a huge difference. Let's see how we close this thing out when our guys are healthy."

In the NFL, "healthy" is relative. Kerley put himself at 90 to 95 percent since suffering a dislocation against the Saints on Nov. 3 that was so grotesque, many of his teammates had to look away. He thought his season, maybe even his career, might be over.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

"I thought it was the worst," Kerley said. "I thought it was over, and I was going to be back in Texas. Worst pain I've ever had. The docs came in, told me what it was and kind of eased my mind a little bit."

Kerley admitted he's a "little bit" worried about how his elbow will respond to contact. It still doesn't feel normal, but Kerley has no intention of wearing any protective padding.

"I just don't want to feel restricted," Kerley said. "I tell people, if I could, I'd play naked. Extra padding makes me feel limited . . . I know pain is going to occur. I might get hit; I might fall on it wrong. I'm just looking to get over it as soon as it happens."

In the past three losses, Smith looked mechanical while searching for open targets. But Ryan believes Kerley can give Smith an immediate outlet.

"Jeremy can get separation in a hurry," Ryan said. "I'm not saying he's Wes Welker, but similar, a slot receiver who can shake you, burst and get open just like that."

Notes & quotes: According to an ESPN report, the NFLPA has determined that rapper Jay Z's Roc Nation Sports followed the rules and legally recruited Smith last spring.

Subscribe to Newsday’s sports newsletter for stories, photos and videos about your favorite New York teams plus national sports news and events.

Comments

Newsday.com now uses Facebook for our comment boards. Please read our guidelines and connect your Facebook account to comment.

You also may be interested in: