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Jeremy Kerley on offense for Jets vs. Eagles? Maybe

New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley brings

New York Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley brings in a first-down reception before being taken down by Atlanta Falcons cornerback Kevin White at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Friday, Aug 21, 2015. Credit: Steven Ryan

Jeremy Kerley just stood there, looking puzzled.

"An opportunity to do what?" he asked on Wednesday.

The injuries to the Jets' receiving corps were obvious to Kerley. But their potential impact on his own playing time was far too difficult to ascertain.

The Jets could enter MetLife Stadium this Sunday against the beleaguered Eagles (0-2) at half strength.

Speedy No. 3 receiver Chris Owusu will miss three weeks after undergoing a knee scope on Thursday, while veteran Eric Decker (knee sprain) and running back Chris Ivory (quadriceps) are questionable. (Shutdown corner Darrelle Revis, who is nursing a groin injury, also will be a game-time decision for the Jets.)

As a result, Todd Bowles and his staff may have no choice but to use Kerley, a five-year veteran, more on offense Sunday against the Eagles.

But there's one person who isn't convinced: Kerley.

"I had two [offensive snaps] in two weeks. I mean, yeah, it could be," he said of the opportunity for an increased role, though he looked completely unconvinced as he spoke to Newsday.

Kerley's precipitous plunge down the depth chart has been an ongoing storyline since the start of camp. And his conspicuous absence in Chan Gailey's new offense -- despite several years as a dependable starter and a four-year contract extension given to Kerley in 2014 -- hasn't gone unnoticed.

"I live by a quote: 'You ain't gotta get ready when you stay ready,'" said Kerley, whose primary role is now punt returner after being overshadowed by Owusu and the unproven Quincy Enunwa on offense. "So I'm not going to get caught off guard and I'm not going to get my hopes up. It is what it is.

"If I've got to go out there and play 100 snaps, I'll play 100," Kerley said, before flashing a playful smile. "If I get one again, that one snap will be the best snap y'all have ever seen."

Gailey acknowledged this week that Decker's potential "makes a little difference" for his offense. But he also expressed confidence in rookie receiver Devin Smith, who is healthy enough to play after breaking several ribs early in training camp. "Watching him on the practice field, he has a ton of talent," Gailey said of Smith, who's status for the game depends on Decker's availability, according to Bowles. "He just needs to play. At some point, he'll get his chance. I don't know if that's this week, next week, or when it will be, but at some point he'll get his chance."

Brandon Marshall called both Smith and Kerley "super talented." But the veteran playmaker was quick to point out that Sunday could be a potentially big day for the proven slot receiver.

"Jeremy is a [No.] 1, 2, 3 on a bunch of other teams, so I'm excited that we have him," Marshall said. "We'll see a very talented guy out there on Sunday. …I think this is his game."

Kerley, however, isn't focused on his playing time or trying to understand where he fits in Gailey's offense.

"I'm not trying to put my finger on it," Kerley said later in a group interview. "All I'm trying to do is go out and make myself better in practice. And when I get to the games, like I said, I stay ready all the time.

"If those are the guys they want out there playing, I respect that. That's what they want. I wouldn't know what else to do, what else to put out there to try to convince somebody that I'm their guy or that guy that they want. So all I can do is go out there and be me."

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