The San Francisco 49ers made several roster moves over the past two weeks, adding a pair of wide receivers via trade. The team acquired Jeremy Kerley from the Detroit Lions, and then added Rod Streater from the Kansas City Chiefs. Streater had ten offensive snaps and a special teams snap, and was mostly quiet. Kerley on the other hand, had 54 offensive snaps, and 11 special teams snaps.
Kerley had a week of practice on Streater, so it made sense he would be more ready, but given the role he was filling, his active participation was not surprising. Kerley finished the game with seven receptions for 61 yards, and was targeted 11 times by Blaine Gabbert. He also returned two punts for 11 yards.
Kerley was brought in to replace Bruce Ellington in the slot receiver role. There were high expectations for Ellington in the 49ers offense, and his torn hamstring was a disappointment. Kerley stepped in, however, and was a big part of the 49ers passing game. It seems very likely we see him very active once again in Week 2 against the Carolina Panthers.
On Monday, Kerley discussed his work against the Rams, and his expectations about his role. Here’s a quick transcript, courtesy of the 49ers PR team.
Did you expect to step in and have as big of a role as you did tonight?
“Yes. I knew what I was walking into a little bit. I expected to just kind of get in where I fit in, you know, go out there, make the plays I was asked to make, give this team an opportunity to put up a victory and that’s what we did.”
It has to feel good to come in from day one and be the starting slot guy and returner?
“Yea, it feels good. It is a good opportunity not just for me, but for this team. Having this type of offense that we have. It gives us the ability to do a lot of things. We have a lot of mismatches and we are able to wear a defense down. But for me to walk into this is ideal for me.”
Can you take us through that fourth down play?
“To tell you the truth, I don’t really remember it. I just remember I think I was supposed to get over the top of the defender. He was kind of playing high, they sent a blitz or something. So my time clock kind of went off and I just turned around and caught the ball.”
Have things been kind of a blur for you, is that why you have a trouble recalling some of the stuff that was happening because you are kind of cramming as you go?
“Yes, a little bit. I think that I have done a pretty good job with the intake of the playbook. The game is going so fast, you are not really recalling what just happened.”
Can you sense how you guys were gaining confidence throughout the game. At what point did you guys say that we got this?
“Actually at no point, until three minutes left in the fourth quarter. I looked over and all of my teammates were ready to keep going out there and keep fighting.”