The New York Jets replaced one power running back with another this offseason as Khiry Robinson will thrive on offense.
The New York Jets brought in running back Chris Ivory during the 2013 NFL Draft in a trade with the New Orleans Saints in exchange for a fourth round pick. Ivory was stuck behind Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles in New Orleans. While Ivory had some huge games in limited action with the Saints, it was unknown if he would be able to produce as the lead back.
Fortunately for the Jets he did. In his three years with Gang Green, Ivory scored 16 touchdowns and ran for an average of four yards per carry in all three seasons. In 2015, he had his first 1,000 yard season. Ivory left this offseason via free agency and signed a big deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jets replaced him with Matt Forte, although they are two completely different players.
Forte will serve as a do-it-all back for the Jets and will be featured as a receiver. The Jets went out and signed another underutilized former Saints’ running back in Khiry Robinson. Robinson, like Ivory, flashed in limited action for the Saints.
This year, Robinson will be used in a rotation with Forte and Bilal Powell. Due to his power style of running, he is best utilized running between the tackles, and in an I-formation; similar to Ivory. Robinson will be featured in some games, depending on the match-up. The Jets want to have an all-weather offense that can attack a defense many different ways. Robinson will be key to that philosophy.
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The Jets need Robinson for a few things.
If they have a lead and need to run out the clock and wear down the defense in the 4th quarter, Robinson will be their guy.
His powerful running style, will test the defense’s will to tackle at the end of the game.
He will also be used as a short yardage or goal-line back.
He is the biggest Jets’ running back and thrives running between the tackles, an essential trait for a short yardage back.
Forte and Powell will receive the bulk of the carries, due to the Jets’ use of spread formations. The Jets’ offense is based on taking advantage of mismatches, which are supposed to be clear as day, as they spread out a defense and are able to see who is covering who. This is what made the Jets’ offense so successful last season. Still, the early season success of the Jets had to do with the power run game and Ivory. Which is something the Jets will need to utilize and Robinson needs to be that guy this time around.
In a limited role, Robinson will be able to thrive when called upon. Given 10-15 carries a game, he will be fresh and ready to go. The problem with Ivory last year was that he easily wore down and his nagging injuries severely affected his performance in big games. As the third running back for the Jets, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey will only use him to his strengths, something he didn’t have the luxury of doing with Ivory in 2015.