NY Jets First Quarter Report Card: Running Backs

The NY Jets since the start of the season have had a very strong run game as this is definitely a positional group that has earned a good grade so far after the first quarter of the season.

Since the off-season when Ryan Fitzpatrick was named the regular season starter after Geno Smith suffered a broken jaw during a locker room scuffle, the Jets have relied heavily on their run game. While the Jets’ running backs such as Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell and Zac Stacy have proven just how dangerous each one can be when they receive the ball.

The Jets however shouldn’t overly force feed their backs the ball each game though. It’s important to preserve them to maintain results throughout the rest of the season. 

As the weeks went on and Fitzpatrick and his offense developed a smooth chemistry, the pressure on the Jets’ running game has definitely eased up which is good.

Throughout the first quarter of the season, I’m giving the Jets run game a grade of a B-. Currently, according to ESPN, the Jets rank fifth among teams in the AFC based on total rushing yards on the season with 509. The Jets also rank seventh among teams in the NFL based off average rushing yards per game with 127.

Now, I know the Jets have started the season off with a jaw dropping 3-1 record and a defense that seems to average at least two-three takeaways per game, but the reason why their run game doesn’t receive a grade higher than a B- is simply because, you not only have Ivory leading the team with 314 rushing yards on the season, but relying too heavily on their run game has shown its wear and tear with injuries sustained by key players.

Ivory counts for more than 50% of the Jets’ total rushing yards on the season and has been the unanimous go to guy when it comes to handing the ball off. It’s been a one man show when it comes down to receiving the work load in the back field. Ivory has sustained multiple minor injuries, thankfully, they’re minor injuries.

Ivory did indeed sit out during their Week 3 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles, which resulted in Powell filling in as their No. 1 back for the game. Powell had a vastly disappointing game recording less than 40 rushing yards that game. Fortunately for Gang Green, Ivory returned the following week in London against the Miami Dolphins and had an absolute field day recording 166 rushing yards on 29 carries for a touchdown.

Sep 13, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) rushes the ball against the Cleveland Browns during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Powell on the season has recorded 131 rushing yards, Tommy Bohanon has obtained just two yards on the season and surprisingly, Fitzpatrick has more rushing yards on the year than Stacy does. As a matter of fact, he has five times more rushing yards than Stacy. Fitzpatrick has gathered up 52 rushing yards compared to Stacy’s 10.

It’s rather mind boggling to pick apart the Jets already impressive run game, however, a B- so far throughout the first quarter is a very respectful grade. I believe their run game will remain strong throughout the second quarter of the season, but until then, their grade of a B- stands until others step up to help give Ivory more support from those on the depth chart.

Load Comments