New York Jets: Chris Ivory due for breakout year
The New York Jets are ready to bounce back this upcoming season from their 4-12 efforts of last year. Running back Chris Ivory will have a breakout year as the true center of the Jets’ offense. Even with the addition of wide receiver Brandon Marshall, new offensive coordinator Chan Gailey and Ryan Fitzpatrick at starting quarterback, much of the offense will rely on Ivory’s ground and pound style.
The all new offense has looked impressive at times during the preseason, even the backups like running back Zac Stacy are showing promise. Gailey is known to employ a spread offense, favoring a passing game over the run and a formation Ivory hasn’t typically excelled in.
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Ivory will fit into this style better than most would be willing to admit. Fitzpatrick isn’t the above and beyond upgrade over Smith as a passer some have hailed him to be.
He’s more reliable yes, but concerns remain about his tendency to throw interceptions. He also doesn’t have a consistently strong arm, you may see a deep ball here and there but this won’t be a home run style offense. The Jets will look to control their frustrating turnover issues by keeping the ball on the ground and utilizing a mix of screens and short routes.
All of these factors point to a reliance on Ivory, Bilal Powell and Stacy to keep the offense on the field, managing the clock in their favor. The X factor will be how much Ivory can improve as a pass blocker and if he can build on an uptick in receiving we saw in 2014.
I’m already on record saying to expect Ivory to give more of the same in terms of total yards at around 800-850, hopefully I’m wrong and Ivory’s own confidence helps him finally break the 1K mark. If Gailey cracks the code on Ivory in the pass game, he becomes that much more useful on top of what we already know to expect from him.
Aug 21, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) runs with the ball while being pursued by Atlanta Falcons linebacker Brooks Reed (56) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
While I expect the same yardage numbers from Ivory, I’m looking for those to be significantly more productive yards. Where last year Ivory picked up yardage in the absence of overall offensive productivity, yards this year will be gained in a tandem with an improved passing game strategically used to put the Jets in position to use Ivory effectively. His running will mean more and will consistently be the reason the Jets win or stay competitive week to week.
Finally, the offensive line looks great. I was especially impressed with how much time Fitzpatrick has had in the pocket behind the first string line, which is huge for this team. They will ultimately determine how well Fitzpatrick and Ivory can carry out there assignments on the field. Ivory can have his best season as a Jet behind this line running this new offense.
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