What should fans expect out of running back Chris Ivory as he heads into training camp and the regular season? Going into training camp, there are many fascinating story lines for the media and fans to discuss about the New York Jets. There is a sense of excitement over the newly rebuilt defense and the return of shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis. There are concerns about struggling incumbent quarterback Geno Smith and whether or not anyone else on the roster (Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bryce Petty) can adequately play the position if he struggles. In the midst of all these conversations and debates, however, the running back position is frequently ignored.
For a team like the Jets that is built around an elite defense and minimizing mistakes on offense, a strong ground game is vital to their success. Unfortunately, while the Jets look to have significant quantity at the running back position (Ivory, Bilal Powell, Zac Stacy, Stevan Ridley) there are concerns about quality.
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In the 15 combined seasons of experience shared by the Jets’ current running backs, only one season saw a Jets’ running back rush for more than 1,000 yards (Ridley in 2012).
With Ridley working to return from significant injuries, the Jets most reliable option at running back remains last year’s starter Ivory.
While no coach or fan would ever confuse Ivory with Adrian Peterson, he has served as a solid starter for the Jets. With consecutive seasons of 800+ rushing yards, the Jets’ decision to trade a 4th round pick for him was a rousing success.
Looking to 2015, it is difficult to predict Ivory’s production. Although he projects to open the season as the starter, a crowded depth chart ensures that the best player will get the most carries. In particular, a healthy Ridley could challenge Ivory for playing time. If Ivory is able to hang onto the starting job for 16 games, another solid season of 800-1,000 rushing yards and a few touchdowns is to be expected.
Even if he fails to start the entire season or to put up major numbers, Ivory is a lock to make the regular season roster and will serve as a valuable piece of their multifaceted rushing attack.