49ers: Wide Receiver Jeremy Kerley the Open Man

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Jeremy Kerley has been one of the most productive players on offense as of late; Kerley is a savvy veteran with a knack for getting open, just call him “the open man.”

 

If someone had told any San Francisco 49ers fan or any football fan that, wide receiver Jeremy Kerley would be the leading receiver and account for 18 catches on 32 targets for 202 yards at 11.2 yards a catch average and one touchdown for the team in the first month of the 2016 season. Via, ESPN.com. 

Would they have looked at you with deep skepticism?

Well, folks, the numbers don’t lie. Kerley, 27, is one of the few bright spots in the Chip Kelly’s 2016 passing attack.

Recently, Kerley talks about the great opportunity with 49ers and how he enjoys making plays on offense and special teams. Via, the team’s website.

Kerley was a late addition to the team in August via a trade with the Detroit Lions for offensive guard Brandon Thomas. Kerley, 5’9″ and 188lbs, has blended right in immediately, which has been a smooth transition with his new team and has built a strong chemistry with starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

“He came in on such short notice, mastered this offense and knew exactly where he needed to be to catch the ball, (He) came out tonight with quite a few catches tonight and some big third-down conversions,” said Gabbert after the week one victory over the Rams.

Kerley seemed to be the only receiver who could get consistent separation from defenders in Sunday’s game against long-time rivals Dallas Cowboys.

Important to note: Kerley registered six catches for 88 yards and a touchdown, in the 24-17 loss to the Cowboys. Via, NFL.com.

Kerley’s fellow teammates/receivers—Torrey Smith, Quinton Patton, and Aaron Burbridge combined for three catches for 21 yards. Also, Kerley was held twice on passes that were incomplete, but the referees didn’t throw their flags.

Closing Thoughts on Kerley:

Head coach Chip Kelly’s spread offense highlights the slot position, where Kerley usually lines up, and he has capitalized big time on his opportunities during games. He’s emerged as the receiver Gabbert trust to throw the ball to in crunch time the most.

Out of Kerley’s 18 catches while being targeted by Gabbert, 11 have come on third downs when Kerley is needed the most. However, this is causing the offense to become predictable, and easy for the defense to key in on.

Gabbert must find other receivers so the defense can’t key in on Kerley consistently.

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, he also serves as the team’s punt returner and one of the kickoff returners.  He’s solidified himself as a trusted agent, and the front office should be looking to extend his contract to provide productive depth to the wide receiver corps in the future.

Look for Kerley to continue providing a spark for the offense, and hopefully, he brings some of his juice and enthusiasm to the return game moving forward through the 2016 season.

All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus,49ers.com, ESPN.com , NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author Jimi Payne. Editor Niners Live.

 

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