Kerley Learning How to Juggle Special Teams From Antonio Cromartie
kristianrdyer , theJetsBlog.com
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – If Jets wide receiver Jeremy Kerley turns into an All-Pro at punt returner, he might have to cut Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie a royalty check.
On Wednesday during practice, Kerley was going through an unusual drill while fielding punts. Holding a football in his left hand, Kerley would line-up to catch the punt as the ball began its descent and then he’d throw the ball he was holding straight up in the air. Kerley then fielded the punt and tried to catch the other ball on its way down, essentially attempting to juggle both balls. It worked as all four times he did it as Kerley caught both the punt and then the ball he tossed roughly 10 feet into the air.
The strange drill comes after last Sunday’s third quarter muff of a punt return in the loss at Pittsburgh. The idea for the drill came from cornerback Antonio Cromartie.
“It was something Cromartie was helping me out on, helping me to put my focus on somewhere else and catch the ball – you know, reaction time and focus,” Kerley told The Jets Blog.
Besides being the self-proclaimed second best wide receiver on the Jets roster, Cromartie is also talented on special teams for both kickoff and punt returns. The drill comes from his first stop in the league and former Chargers wide receiver coach James Lofton.
“I’ve been doing [it] since San Diego, it makes you just focus on one thing, keep your mind sharp and make sure you’re focused on what you need to do,” Cromartie said.
“You catch the ball that is thrown to you and then you field the other one. It’s simple but it helps you concentrate.”
Kerley said that the muffed punt that happened on Sunday “definitely won’t happen again” and he will continue to use Cromartie’s bit of veteran wisdom to help focus on catching his punts. Two balls at a time.
“It did, it really helped,” Kerley said. “That play, I just didn’t keep my eyes on it the whole time.”
Kristian R. Dyer covers the Jets for Metro New York and contributes to Yahoo!Sports. He can be followed for Jets news @KristianRDyer on Twitter.