Dec 22, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) runs the ball during the first half of the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Jets Are Going With A Three-Headed Monster At Running Back


Dec 29, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson (28) carries the ball against the Houston Texans during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

The people who criticized the Jets for bringing in Chris Johnson in the offseason saw an injured running back coming off a season where he wore down (but still had 321 touches over 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns). They wondered if he still had enough in the tank to carry a run-heavy offense in New York. According to Running Backs coach Anthony Lynn, those people need not worry because the Jets realize to get the most out of Johnson, less means more.

According to an article by Dom Cosentino of NJ.com, Lynn said:

“He’s got some miles on him,” Jets running backs coach Anthony Lynn conceded. “So we’re going to have to be strategic in how we use him, and when we use him, to keep him fresh so that he can be the explosive guy that I know that he can be.” 6/25/14 NJ.com “Jets don’t expect Chris Johnson to be a workhorse running back” by Dom Cosentino

Rex Ryan is also considering keeping Johnson on a “pitch count” meaning he will have reduced reps and more days off to keep him fresh for the season. This was how the Jets got the best out of LaRon Landry and I would expect the same to be true here.

The Jets split the carries last year nearly exactly down the middle with Ivory getting 182 and Powell getting 176 with those rushes generating a fairly robust 1,530 yards on the group. Johnson being inserted into the mix should help oft injured Chris Ivory stay healthier as well. Johnson’s speed to the edge and pass catching ability (averaging 40+ catches per year) brings a dimension that wasn’t there for the Jets last season. Chris Ivory remains the power runner of the group while Bilal Powell has a varied enough skill set to substitute for either back. So the Jets have a formidable three-headed monster at running back.

While in the past Johnson has been against running back by committee but now he is starting to realize that a full workload isn’t the best thing for him at this stage of his career (turns 29 this year). Johnson said:

“This year, it’s about winning,” Johnson said at the time. “I want to come into a program where I think we could win. And if that’s what the coach feels we [have to do to] win, then that’s what we have to do.” 6/25/14 NJ.com “Jets don’t expect Chris Johnson to be a workhorse running back” by Dom Cosentino

Running back is one of the best and deepest positions that the Jets have in 2014. We haven’t even talked about Daryl Richardson, who averaged 4.8 yards per carry as a rookie in 2012 before suffering through a turf toe injury he sustained Week 1 in 2013 that dogged him all year. So whatever the roles turn out to be Chris Johnson will be a major part of the Jets offense this year, and though he has a lightened workload the extra rest will ensure that less means more.

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Tags: 2014 New York Jets Chris Johnson Featured New York Jets Popular

  • speakincreeker

    I think the Jets offense is going to be explosive this season. Something it has not been in several years. Sanchez seemed afraid to air it out deep, but I don’t think Geno has that problem. Run the rock, don’t turn the ball over and let a solid defense get you field position will be a winning formula.

    • Craig Hoffman

      That certainly seems to be the game plan and they seem to have the pieces in place to do just that.

      • Paul Newbold

        What pieces Craig? Ducasse? Winters? Campbell? Aboushi? Colon is down, leaving another big hole. Winter’s stunk up his position last year. Ducasse a bust! Aboushi reportedly played well through OTA’s, but he’s slow a foot, and didn’t even suit up for a game last season. Campell is a defensive player trying to make the switch, but has no experience! Dozier holds potential but is a raw rookie! Depth is a problem and the starters are a serious problem from where I sit! The two guard positions are questionable, and big trouble will arise if one of the aging starters would happen to go down, The puzzle is missing pieces!!

    • RONBO19

      Speeky, it may be if we can put together an offensive line that at this point has an awful lot of question marks?

  • Paul Newbold

    Running back by committee is the way they go without a doubt! The Jets probably have more talent at running back then anyone else in the league at the moment! Ivory,Johnson, Richardson, Powell and even Alex Green. The trick becomes how do you play them to get the most out of them! Both Ivory and Johnson have injury concerns. Ivory has had a history of them since entering the league, and Johnson is still rehabbing off last season’s injury. Richardson has the turf toe, he sat out OTA’s due to residual effects from that injury reported. Most reports I’ve read have them featuring Johnson/Ivory this season, Ivory carry the bulk of the load with the others offering change of pace. I like Powell however, he’s not as one dimensional as Ivory, offering Smith an outlet in the passing game. If Richardson can get healthy, all bets are off, the competition will jump to a new level! Its all good news for the Jets backfield! I can see them carrying all of these guys, and dropping the fullback position entirely. I’m not overly impressed by Bohannon!!

    • Craig Hoffman

      I agree. I think Bohanon is on thin ice regarding his roster spot. He hasn’t been mentioned at all yet by Rex or anyone that I can remember. He also didn’t block as well as he should have last year.

      • RONBO19

        Craig, after following all the pre-draft stuff during the 2013 off season i was amazed the jets drafted Tommy Bohanon. Frankly the guy ran poorly at the combine and wasn’t highly regarded in any of the pre-draft sites that evaluate players. So to me it was no surprise that PFF voted him the absolute worst fullback after last season. Yes he was a rookie and rookies often struggle but not so much at fullback where there are limited instances where a quick decision is needed. Pass blocking and opening holes is all about strength and explosion. Not to mention will power and technique. Bohanon seemed to struggle getting to the hole quick enough to make his block as he lacked the explosion needed to actually get there and move some body out of the running backs way. In addition,his lack of foot speed hindered him in pass protection as well.Honestly, i just don’t think he’s an NFL caliber player so I expect he will be an ex-jet before the season gets under way. In all likely hood, the fullback for this team is probably on somebody else’s roster at this time.