FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Wide receiver Jermaine Kearse on Monday expressed frustration with Jets offensive coordinator Jeremy Bates and how he was used within Bates’ system.
Kearse’s production dipped dramatically from last year, when he was a featured receiver in former coordinator John Morton’s system. Kearse said “it wasn’t a match” with Bates.
“I felt that I wasn’t a part of it as much,” he said. “I felt I got put on the back burner a little bit . . . For me coming off my best year statistically the year before, I had some very high expectations. It was just really frustrating and unfortunate that things didn’t go the way I expected, which happens sometimes. Do I think it played a role? Yes.”
Kearse, a pending free agent, caught 37 passes for 371 yards and one touchdown. Last season, he had a career-best 65 catches for 810 yards and five TDs.
He said he takes some responsibility but not all of it. “Some things were just out of my control,” said Kearse, who was acquired from Seattle for Sheldon Richardson just before the start of last season. “Things changed from the year before to now. It’s out of my control. At the end of the day, I got to hold myself accountable to be able to try to perform the best I can.
“It’s definitely frustrating.I’m not going to sit here and put all blame on him. I hold myself accountable. It wasn’t a match. It just didn’t match as the year before I was able to showcase a little bit more than what I was able to do [this year].”
The Jets struggled offensively for much of the season, scoring one or zero offensive touchdowns in eight games. An Achilles injury kept Kearse out of Sunday’s season-ending 38-3 loss at New England, the third game in which the offense didn’t produce a touchdown.
Kearse said he voiced his concern with Bates and that nothing changed. It’s possible, if not likely, that neither man will be back. The Jets’ new coach will get to choose his coordinators. The Jets also are expected to look for upgrades at receiver. Quincy Enunwa just signed a four-year extension. Robby Anderson will be a restricted free agent, but he’s expected back.
Kearse said he “would love to come back” and added: “I’m not going to let this year define me as a football player . . . This is just a little bump. I see it as nothing more than that. I’ve been through a lot of adversity throughout my career. I feel that I can push through this and still play really good football, I’ve proven that. I feel like I can still make plays and help teams win.”
Backup quarterback Josh McCown, 39, hasn’t ruled out a return. He has enjoyed his two years with the Jets, first as a starter and then as a mentor to Sam Darnold.
McCown said he’s going to go home to Charlotte, North Carolina, and spend time with his family and decide his future.
“Everything for me is on the table right now,’’ he said. “I’m going to sit with my family, we’ll talk through it, we’ll pray through it and we’ll come up with the best conclusion we can.”
In addition to their AFC East schedule, the Jets in 2019 will host the Browns, Cowboys,Giants, Raiders and Steelers. The non-division road games will be against the Ravens, Bengals, Jaguars, Eagles and Redskins.