NY Jets 2015 Report Card: Running Backs
Dec 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) runs with the ball during the first half of their game against the New England Patriots at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
The NY Jets had a solid season out of their running backs in 2015. See how each player graded out this past season.
Last year saw the Jets carry four running backs throughout the season and all had their time in the sun to shine with getting snaps throughout the season.
With the Jets finishing 10th in the NFL for total rushing yards, it was a productive season from their running back corps which included a 1,000+ yard season from Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell becoming Fitzpatrick’s legitimate third receiving threat. Stevan Ridley and Zac Stacy both getting over 40 carries on the year also had some productive runs picking up vital yards for the Jets’ offense.
They all contributed well and had a productive year, so overall I’m giving the collective group a B-. Lets’ dive a little deeper and analyze each running back and assign them an individual grade.
Next: Chris Ivory
Nov 29, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;New York Jets running back Chris Ivory (33) runs the ball In the 2nd half at MetLife Stadium.The Jets defeated the Dolphins 38-20. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Ivory: B+
An absolutely fantastic season from the sixth year man out of Tiffin with him getting rewarded with his very first Pro Bowl selection. He posted his very first 1,000+ yard season and twice being named FedEx Ground player of the week.
His season was by far a career year with his violent running style that he is well-known for being a wrecking ball. He also showed great patience when running by reading what was in front of him then smashing into the right gaps and holes. Ivory also showed his pace when he gets in the open field with his longest run being a 58-yard monster gain against the Buffalo Bills.
Ivory finished 5th in the NFL for total yards as well as being 7th in the league for rushing 1st downs (50). He showed his talent throughout this remarkable season, another big highlight was the 166 yard, one touchdown game against the Miami Dolphins in London. It was a career high single game rushing total for him.
Again, his ability to do the dirty work and smash the ball right up the middle of the field knocking back runners as well as producing some highlight plays has him as an important part of this offense. Look for him to be massive again in 2016 if he returns to the Jets.
Next: Bilal Powell
Dec 27, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) runs against the New England Patriots during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
Bilal Powell: C+
Powell’s emergence as both a rushing threat and most importantly a dangerous receiver option coming out of the back field was one of the most important tools to the Jets this year. Particularly to their late season run of five straight wins on the trot.
His stats this season were up there with him having 4.5 yards per carry and rushing for 313 yards which was really important to the Jets. He was used in a lot of tosses and draw plays using his pace to get around the outside of opposing defensive lines to pick up crucial first downs for the Jets.
The most impressive thing about Bilal’s season and something that made him a massive part of the Jets’ offense was his ability to roll out of the backfield and pick up receptions. Opposing defenses didn’t have any answers for him in which he had a career high in receptions (47) as well as receiving yards (388).
His importance in both the run game and as a legitimate third receiver has him in good stead for the off-season with many suggesting he might end up the No. 1 option if Ivory doesn’t return.
Next: Stevan Ridley
Nov 22, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; New York Jets running back Stevan Ridley (22) rushes during the first quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Stevan Ridley: C-
Coming to the Jets from the New England Patriots last off-season, Ridley was recovering from a horrific knee injury where his MCL and ACL were torn. It put him out of action for 15 months so it was always going to be a long road back in his return to the gridiron.
His 2015 season numbers were down on what he achieved with the Patriots, but even getting back on the field was a success for the five year man from LSU. The potential is there but it never turned into fruition this past season. He had 36 carries for 90 yards which included some big first down pickups.
Stevan’s production going forward for the Jets will only get better and you just have to look at his time with the Patriots to see the kind of player he can be. In his best season to date in 2012, he had a mammoth 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns so look for him to be injected more as time goes on provided he’s healthy.
Next: Zac Stacy
Oct 4, 2015; London, United Kingdom; New York Jets running back Zac Stacy (30) is pursued by Miami Dolphins left end Derrick Shelby (79) in Game 12 of the NFL International Series at Wembley Stadium.The Jets defeated the Dolphins 27-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Zac Stacy: C-
In the spring of 2015 shortly after the NFL Draft, Stacy requested a release from the Los Angeles Rams and ended up with the Jets as he was traded for a late-round draft pick. His season was quiet in terms of total snaps but he definitely made the most of the opportunities he received.
When he was put in by offensive coordinator Chan Gailey, he totaled 89 total yards on 31 carries and nine receptions for 65 yards.
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Stacy was used to great effect during the early part of the season coming out of the backfield as a receiving option and was also used as a short down situational runner. The season highlight for him was scoring his first touchdown as a Jet in the International Series game in London against the Dolphins.