There has been much discussion of Jeremy Kerley's status. Why is this new coaching staff not playing him? David recited a quote from Todd Bowles in his discussion of Kerley yesterday that seems particularly telling.
Owusu brought a presence. He can play inside and outside...
There is only so much you can take away from the first game of the season, but I get the feeling Kerley's lack of versatility plays into this. Kerley has nice skills for a slot receiver, but he is generally stuck there. He doesn't have the size or the deep speed to do more than occasionally go outside.
In the first game of the season, it seemed like the Jets wanted to dictate matchups in their favor.
On Decker's touchdown near the end of the first half, he was lined up in the slot.
Putting Decker in the slot dictates a favorable matchup. A seasoned route runner, Decker gets lined up against an inexperienced corner, K'waun Williams. More than that, Decker has a 5 inch, 31 pound advantage.
This is a nice mismatch, but putting Decker in the slot means you lose him outside. Who takes his spot? It helps when you have a player like Chris Owusu who can win on the outside as he did on his 43 yard reception in the second quarter.
Having players who can move inside and outside helps the offense dictate matchups. PFF counted 18 Decker snaps from the slot this week. Next week, they might want him on the outside and Brandon Marshall more in the slot. If the defense knows there are receivers who can line up anywhere, the matchups become more difficult. If you move Marshall inside, does he draw a corner used to playing outside who is uncomfortable working without being able to use the sideline to help him? Do they try and avoid Decker against a nickel corner in the slot? Does Owusu then draw a small nickel corner outside not comfortable with jamming receivers at the line?
Now we have a long way to go before we declare Chris Owusu a success story, but the early evidence suggests his versatility might speak to the coaching staff, and Jeremy Kerley's lack of it limit his playing time with the Jets.