When the New York Jets started to figure out the running back situation, they looked a three other options for the position.
But Bilal Powell has made the Jets brass think twice about guys like Kahlil Bell, Mike Goodson, and Joe McKnight.
McKnight was one of the most recent casualties in the recent cuts so, you now have Powell getting even more opportunities to share the rock with Chris Ivory.
To date, Powell had 458 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns for his limited Jets career.(18 catches, 147 yards receiving)
Now, as we are only a couple of games into the pre-season, Powell has 16 carries for 82 yards for a 5.1 average. Receiving wise, he’s got three catches for six yards.
So the question is, what has changed for Powell this season?
Looking at the his 37-yard run from the second pre-season game, one of the first things you notice is that his field vision has improved drastically. He hit that hole pretty hard and took advantage of the hole.
When you look back at Powell in his first two years in the league, he was really the third or the fourth option at running back. He had Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson, and even to an extent Joe McKnight all ahead of him.
The only one left on the squad of that trio is McKnight and basically, he’s been the forgotten man on the Jets.
Now, Powell is taking advantage of his opportunities.
The other reason for Powell’s success so far has been the play of the offensive line.
For the last a couple years, the unite that was supposed to be one of the stalwarts of the Jets looked like a shell of its former self. From 2009-2010, Gang Green was one of the top running teams in the NFL. They led the league in rushing yards in 09.
When Powell joined the league in 2011, the line with Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Brandon Moore, Matt Slauson, and Wayne Hunter were not getting the same kind of push at the line that were creating the holes the running backs would be able to punch through. And the same thing happened in 2012. The difference being that instead of Wayne Hunter, it was Austin Howard.
It’s been evident in the first couple of games in the pre-season (prior to the Giants game) that this line led by Mangold and Ferguson, has started to find a bit of its swagger and get the push at the point of attack that they really needed evident by the previously mentioned 37-yard run.
For the Jets to have any kind of success this season, they need to have a successful running attack. For Powell to be able to do that, the offensive line needs to find its swagger and get the push necessary for Powell to continue to grow and be the successful running back that wwe are slowly starting to see.