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New York Jets Current Running Back Situation

By Mike Nash
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Chris Ivory is the most likely candidate to win the starting job this season for Gang Green

Mikey Nash is back with a short scouting report on the current running back situation.

In my opinion, the Jets backfield will be much improved this season. Ever since Rex Ryan became the coach of the Jets in 2009, the motto for the offense has been “Ground and Pound”. In both 2009 and 2010, the Jets certainly had success running the football. In 2009 the Jets led the league with an average of 172 yards per game on the ground, while in 2010 the Jets finished a respectful fourth in rushing with 148 yards per game. This was due to the talent they had at the running back position. Thomas Jones, Ladainian Tomlinson, and a young Shonn Greene made the Jets rushing attack dominant. But the past few seasons the Jets running game has been nothing special. This offseason, the Jets decided to part ways with Shonn Greene, and bring in running backs Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson. In this article I will analyze the Jets running game and the strengths and weaknesses of each player.

Chris Ivory– Up to this point in his career, Ivory has never really had the chance to prove his ability. Ivory was packed in a crowded backfield in New Orleans with former first round pick Mark Ingram and speedster Darren Sproles. Ivory found himself with little opportunity to get on the field, and desperately needed a change of scenery. If Ivory stays healthy, I see no reason why he won’t be the Jets starting running back this season. In limited time, Ivory showed flashes of just how good he can be. His aggressive running style makes him very tough to break down. Ivory also has good speed and burst for a guy his size. Ivory has the ability to turn the corner and out run the secondary to get in the open field. If the Jets O-line is strong, I would not be shocked if Ivory breaks the 1000 yard mark this season. Injuries have been an issue for Ivory in his short career, so that is something to certainly keep and eye on. Although Ivory is a strong rusher, he only has 3 career catches. This is where Mike Goodson comes in to play.

Mike Goodson– Goodson is another running back who has never had the chance prove himself in the league. So far in his career, Goodson has been nothing more than a 3rd down back with a few carries here and there. In New York, his role may be similar, but with many more opportunities. Let me explain. The Jets new Offense Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg brings over the West Coast Offense, which I think Goodson can flourish in. Goodson possess above average speed. According to PFF, Mike Goodson was rated as the most elusive back in 2012. This season, I expect Goodson to be heavily in the passing game. I expect a bunch of screens and swing passes to go his way to utilize his great speed. As I am sure you know, so far this offseason Goodson has gotten himself into some legal trouble. Godson has the chance to really make an impact this season. But it is up to Goodson if he will take advantage of it.

Dec 23, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) runs with the ball during the first half of their game against the San Diego Chargers at Metlife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Bilal Powell– Powell is a guy who has not been talked about much this offseason. With the additions of Ivory and Goodson, it seems that Powell may be flying under the radar. Last season, when given the opportunity to play, Powell was very effective and certainly made a name for himself. Powell does not do anything exceptionally well, but is solid in all areas. This season I expect Powell to get his fair share of carries, similar to his role last season. Powell will serve as a good backup to Ivory, while still being able to make an impact each week. With this only being his 3rd season in the league, Powell will once again have the chance to make strides in hopes to be a starting running back in the league.

Joe McKnight– Joe McKnight has never really been a big part of the Jets running game ever since he came out of USC. Instead, McKnight has been a very solid kick returner for the Jets and is a vital part of the special teams unit. But McKnight does not seem to be satisfied with just being a special teams player. This offseason McKnight seems to be really motivated to make an impact on offense. He has even said that they will have to “kill” him to take his roster spot. In my opinion, I always thought Joe should have been used more on offense. I think he can be very valuable in the passing game. McKnight certainly has his work cut out for him this season if he really wants to be used on offense. If given the chance, the Jets have a good group of 4 solid running backs for the 2013 season.

John Griffin– John Griffin is a player who has not had the opportunity to show his talents due to being buried on the depth chart and his battles with injuries. Griffin has good speed and has received praise from Jets running back coach Anthony Lynn in the past. Griffin will be facing an uphill battle this offseason to make the Jets team, but he is certainly name to keep an eye on.

Just a quick outlook on the Jets running Backs heading into the 2013 season. The running game should be much improved over last season as long as the offensive line is strong. I expect 4 of these backs to make the roster. What do you think?

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