FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Jeremy Kerley is going ... going ...
He's not gone (yet), but he was virtually invisible Sunday in the New York Jets' 31-10 win against the Cleveland Browns. Kerley was on the field for only three plays -- one on offense, two on special teams (both punt returns). Basically, he was the 44th player on the 46-man active roster, ahead of only offensive lineman Dakota Dozier (one snap) and backup quarterback Bryce Petty (did not play). It has been a stunning downfall for Kerley, an integral part of the offense in past years.
We knew going into the game Kerley was no longer the No. 3 receiver, but what we learned Sunday is that he has slipped all the way to No. 5. Chris Owusu was No. 3, Quincy Enunwa No. 4. Rookie Devin Smith (broken ribs) is close to returning, which could create a dilemma. It makes little sense to activate a receiver on game day if he's limited to only a handful of plays -- that's poor roster management -- but Kerley is the only proven punt returner on the roster.
Coach Todd Bowles didn't offer much of an explanation when asked about Kerley's tiny role.
"He was in there," Bowles said. "We had Owusu in the game plan this week. That could be a different guy each week, according to what we think we can do."
That may be true, but Kerley's role has been shrinking since the start of training camp, so there's no reason to think he'll return to a prominent position on offense. Don't be surprised if they try to trade Kerley. Problem is, his $2 million salary is guaranteed.
A quick look at the Jets' snap counts on offense (total: 61).
Wide receiver: Brandon Marshall 60, Eric Decker 55, Owusu 40, Enunwa 27, Kerley 1. Tight end: Jeff Cumberland 28, Kellen Davis 19. Running back: Chris Ivory 32, Bilal Powell 29, Tommy Bohanon 12. Quarterback: Ryan Fitzpatrick 61. Line: D'Brickashaw Ferguson 61, James Carpenter 58, Nick Mangold 60, Willie Colon 58, Breno Giacomini 61, Brent Qvale 5.
Analysis: Qvale made his NFL debut because they made Ferguson an eligible receiver on five plays in goal-line situations. ... As you can see, tight end doesn't have a huge role in Chan Gailey's offense. He used a bunch of four-receiver, one-back packages.
A look at the defensive snaps (total: 71).
Line: Muhammad Wilkerson 52, Leonard Williams 49, Damon Harrison 32, Leger Douzable 26, T.J. Barnes 8, Stephen Bowen 8. Linebacker: Demario Davis 71, David Harris 70, Quinton Coples 54, Calvin Pace 52, Trevor Reilly 19, Lorenzo Mauldin 11, Erin Henderson 7. Secondary: Darrelle Revis 71, Marcus Gilchrist 71, Calvin Pryor 64, Buster Skrine 55, Marcus Williams 30, Antonio Cromartie 27, Jaiquawn Jarrett 4.
Analysis: Marcus Williams got most of the work at right corner in the base after Cromartie's injury. ... Wilkerson's total is lower than in the past because he wasn't in the nickel package in the first half. ... Henderson played for the first time since 2013, returning to football after sitting out a year due to personal reasons.