New York Jets: The 2015 Running Back Situation


Aug 4, 2014; Cortland, NY, USA; New York Jets running back

Chris Ivory

(left) and New York Jets running back

Chris Johnson

(right) work together during drills at training camp at SUNY Cortland. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Jets have been up and down over the last six years. Did Rex Ryan not always get the types of players he needed to succeed? Sometimes. Did Rex Ryan, although loved by his players, not always get his team to play to its full potential. True sometimes as well. Henceforth, a change was made at coach and general manger, and the Jets move ahead into the future.

However, one element to the Jets game that has been consistent over the last six seasons is the running game. Starting in the days of Thomas Jones, right through today with Chris Ivory, the Jets have been at or near the top of the NFL at running the football.

The Jets obviously plan on keeping that going in 2015. The Jets have three capable backs in the fold, as well as talk of bringing in a back that has worked with Chan Gailey in the past.

Here is how I see the Jets running back situation playing out in 2015.

Next: Chris Ivory

Dec 7, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) rushes against the Minnesota Vikings in the second quarter at TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

CHRIS IVORY (starter): You guys all know what I feel about Chris Ivory by now. He is the best running back that the Jets have and it’s not close. He runs like he is mad at the grass. He has posted over 800 yards on the ground in his two years with the Jets, to go along with nine touchdowns.

I think Ivory would have reached the 1,000 yard mark if the Jets weren’t so dead set on using a committee at running back. As they move ahead, it’s time to stop with the committee, and allow Chris Ivory to be the workhorse back. Ivory has moved past his injury woes of the past, only missing one game for the Jets. Increase the workload. Ivory can handle it, and he is tough to stop. The toughest the Jets have.

Next: Bilal Powell

Aug 16, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New York Jets running back

Bilal Powell

(29) runs with the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

BILAL POWELL (change of pace):That being said, you do need a guy that can give Ivory a rest, and change the pace. Ivory isn’t a great pass catcher, although he is getting better. The 5-10 carries per game back should be Bilal Powell.

I have talked about how we don’t know what Powell is if he had to carry the load, simply because he never has. What we do know is that Bilal Powell is a very capable back as a backup/change of pace.

In 2013 there were two running backs, Ivory and Powell. Powell backed up the 800+ yards by Ivory with nearly 700 of his own (697). He added 36 receptions as well.

Powell carried the ball 176 times that year. In my scenario, if you dropped that number of carries to 100-120, Ivory would get the opportunity to run guys over to the tune of a 1,000 yard season, and Powell could provide 500-600 yards on the ground, and 20-30 receptions.

That is a good complimentary running back duo, without too many players, keeping any of them from getting on a roll.

Next: Daryl Richardson

Aug 28, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Jets running back

Daryl Richardson

(35) is tackled by Philadelphia Eagles cornerback

Jaylen Watkins

(37) at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

DARYL RICHARDSON (backup): The Jets have a very capable backup running back on the roster, who the Jets should absolutely promote. Daryl Richardson should be moved up.

For the Rams in 2012, Richardson rushed for 4.8 yards per carry 98 carries, totaling 475 yards on the ground. That’s approximately the number of carries that would serve well behind Chris Ivory. Richardson can handle the role, the Jets should give him a chance.

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Obviously, the Jets will have others coming in, either via the draft or free agency. They may even carry a fourth. These are just the principles the Jets should go with.

But who is missing?

Next: Who is Missing?

Dec 21, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Chris Johnson (21) is tackled by New England Patriots nose tackle

Alan Branch

(97) in the first quarter during the game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Johnson is missing from my list, which should come to no surprise. Johnson clearly has lost a step. He flashed a bit last season, but he was nowhere near his “CJ2K” form of years gone by. We will likely see him off of the roster sooner rather than later.

Also missing is C.J. Spiller. There has been a great deal of talk about Spiller being a good fit with the Jets offense, with Chan Gailey in at coordinator. Gailey worked with Spiller when he as coaching in Buffalo. Spiller has left open the possibility of coming as well, stating his interest in playing for Gailey once again.

The Jets don’t need Spiller. On his last contract with the Bills, he made around $5 million per year. It will take a raise to bring him in here. With Powell on the team, I would rather see the Jets use their money on multiple corners, or a corner and a safety, maybe a corner and a receiver…etc. You get the idea. With Bilal Powell, you have a guy that can fit the change of pace bill. Save the money for other spots on the roster.

What do you think?

Next: Geno Smith Will Be on the 2015 Roster