New York Jets: Matt Forte is key to offensive consistency
The New York Jets wisely added a versatile running back in Matt Forte who should bring even more consistency on offense heading into the upcoming season.
The Jets had a good passing game in 2015. That’s right, good. The signing of Forte brings stability on offense and the ability to be more consistent in 2016. Coming off a season in which Ryan Fitzpatrick set the record for touchdown passes in a season with 31 and became the second all-time leading quarterback as well, it was a great year for an offense that many didn’t expect would take off as it did.
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Brandon Marshall also tied the single-season record for touchdowns by a receiver but it may appear difficult for the Jets to replicate such results again in 2016. The Jets didn’t get much production out of their tight ends as they were irrelevant and their third best receiver on the entire team was Bilal Powell. Also, when the team had opportunities to score off of turnovers, they didn’t.
Dec 6, 2015; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) catches a game-tying touchdown in front of New York Giants corner back Prince Amukamara (20) and New York Giants safety Craig Dahl (43) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. The Jets defeated the Giants 23-20 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
The first big move the Jets made in free agency will more than likely be in acquiring Forte as this move will strengthen the Jets’ offense, by giving them another option in the passing game. With tight end Jace Amaro returning from injury in 2016, now the Jets will have five viable options in the passing game. Plus if Quincy Enunwa can emerge, then the Jets could have an elite passing attack.
A consistent passing game needs to have more than three viable options at receiver so that teams cannot key on one guy to stop. Now imagine this scenario, it’s 3rd and 4 on the Jets’ 45-yard line. It’s a down-and-distance they could run or pass. On the quarterback’s left is Marshall, on his right is Eric Decker and Amaro is lined up at tight end.
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However, here’s the strategic maneuver, the back in the backfield is Powell and the slot receiver is Forte.
Are the Jets running or passing?
Even the most savvy football fans can’t say they would know definitively, and neither would the players or coaches on the Jets’ opponents, if they can keep their plays balanced in those spots.
It kind of reminds me of the days of LenDale White and Reggie Bush at the University of Southern California. White was often the starter at tailback, but they were on the field together often. The Jets can do the same thing. Forte is a good enough blocker to block against defensive backs he will be lined up against if they decide to run and he’s a quality route runner.
The Jets may not match the numbers they put up in 2005, but that doesn’t mean the offense won’t be better and/or more efficient. For instance, with a threat like Forte, it will open the middle of the field for Amaro, giving whomever the quarterback is a good security blanket.
The offense will no longer be just Decker or Marshall on obvious passing downs, but it opens everything up on offense for it to be more consistent across the board. Forte is good at running in open space and can gain tough yards after the catch if needed.
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It’s not always about just scoring on offense that determines how good an offense is. It’s also about when you score and how often you score in crucial situations. There’s a big difference when your offense doesn’t score when they start on the 20-yard line versus getting a possession started on their opponents’ side of the field and don’t come away with a touchdown, which happened nine times in 2015. With Forte in the mix, the Jets’ offense just got a major weapon in its arsenal.