Jeremy Kerley joined the Damon Bruce Show on 95.7 The Game on Thursday to talk about his breakout season with the San Francisco 49ers. Kerley, who leads the team in receiving, is one of the few bright spots on the team. Below is what he had to say during the interview.
How did you become the primary target on the 49ers?
"I make sure I work hard. I make sure every time I step on the field, I just put my best foot forward."
Is there something different in his game that has allowed him to get chances with the 49ers as opposed to the Lions?
"I don't think it's any different. It's just that some coaches like certain things and they got certain guys that they like. So sometimes you got to deal with that. For the most part, I don't think nothing's different. I just came here and it's a better opportunity."
Who was the first 49ers coach to take him under his wing?
"The first guy was Chip [Kelly], man. The first guy was definitely Chip. He came over to me – I think it was after the preseason or during the preseason game, the one I played in – I caught a little pass and he was like, 'Yo man, if you put in effort and stuff, we can be special. And you can definitely, you know, have a big role in this offense.' So that kind of boosted me a little bit to do my thing."
Regarding Chip Kelly calling him "Kerls," it's hard to tell him to stop, isn't it?
"Yeah, you don't want to step on too many toes."
You were Blaine Gabbert's safety blanket. How does the quarterback change impact that?
"I tell everybody that my job as an NFL receiver is to catch the ball and make plays. Who's throwing it, I don't favor anybody. I don't favor Blaine. I don't favor Kap. I favor the ball. Wherever the ball is, that's where I want to be. So it doesn't really matter who's throwing it. Kap and Blaine's job is to throw. It's my job to catch it."
How has practice gone this week with Colin Kaepernick getting the first team reps?
"It's going good, man. He's on pace. He's definitely doing his thing. So I think what Kap does that makes him special, he has the ability to stretch the field and run. Every time I see him run, it looks like a gazelle out there running. So I think, for the most part, it should be interesting with him going out there and getting his first start and stuff. I think the main thing we want to do is just get a win regardless of who is the quarterback."
Have you seen a difference in practice this week?
"No. I really haven't seen too much of a difference in a sense that we always go out and we always practice hard. When Kap was in Blaine's shoes, he worked just as hard as if he was starting and vice versa. Blaine is still working just as hard with him taking his role. I don't really see too much of a change. We always try to go out and try to bust our butts and make sure that practice is just as close to a game as possible."
Who is the vocal leader on offense right now?
"Right now, I definitely think it's Kap. And I kind of feel like, for the most part, when guys get an opportunity, they want to make the most of it. And Kap is a leader. So he's definitely been a lot vocal right now and making sure that guys are into it, guys are getting up, guys are – when you're 1 and 4, it's kind of...you can either crank or you can come together and make something happen. And he's rallying around guys and trying to make something happen."
What are his thoughts on the national anthem protest?
"To be honest with you, to tell you the truth, not a lot of players really – I definitely respect what he was doing. Just trust me, for myself, it's a lot of stuff behind that, you know, that a lot of people could take a knee for, a lot of people could make a stand for. But for him to doing that on a national stage, it shows a lot about his courage and stuff. But it didn't – we respect him for what he is going through. I can't speak for everybody. Just me? I respect him for what he is going through. He's my teammate so I back him up 100-percent on whatever he does."
How do you expect Rex Ryan to attack the 49ers offense?
"Rex, he's an aggressive coach. So I expect Rex to throw any and all kinds of pressure at us, especially with a quarterback change. I expect him to just be aggressive, but there's things like being too aggressive that can hurt you so we've been preparing for it. We've been preparing for his coaching style and what he does well."
You can listen to the entire interview on 95.7 The Game.