The New York Jets plan to launch a potent rushing attack this upcoming season which should be one of their main strengths of the team.
Even though the New York Jets have two stud wide receivers in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, their backfield might be their strongest offensive unit. Last season, Gang Green leaned heavily on Chris Ivory when it came to running the football and it paid dividends. The Tiffin product finished 2015 with 1,070 yards and seven touchdowns on 4.3 yards per carry in 15 games.
The one piece of baggage that came along with Ivory was his ineptitude through the air. He only had 30 receptions for 217 yards and one touchdown on the entire year. If he was more of a receiving threat, the final three contests would’ve been much smoother for the offense. Making the postseason of course would’ve been easier as well.
It’s safe to say that New York has the full package at running back this upcoming season. The newly acquired Matt Forte runs with power and he can catch the ball out of the backfield tremendously. Over the course of his eight-year career, he has racked up 4,116 yards and 19 touchdowns receiving. Even at age 30, you have to have him up there with Le’Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman as one of the best receiving workhorse backs in the league.
The veteran is without a doubt still capable of being the workhorse he was in Chicago, although the Jets would be smart not to overuse him. When you have Bilal Powell and Khiry Robinson on the shelf, it’s okay to rest your featured back when he needs a breather. Powell has been reliable ever since he became more involved in the offense in 2012. He did close to nothing in his rookie campaign while LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene handled the bulk of the carries.
With that being said, the Louisville graduate has 2,480 all-purpose yards and nine touchdowns in his four years as a relevant NFL back. He does wonders holding onto the football and moving the chains to keep important drives alive. Given Forte’s age, offensive coordinator Chan Gailey would be hard pressed not to utilize Powell as the third down back throughout the year. At this point, he’s more explosive and he’s coming off of his second-best season in terms of production. He isn’t the most explosive guy in the backfield, however.
Robinson is without question the guy to watch in training camp come August. He fractured his tibia in the middle of 2015 and he’s looking to find a new home in the ‘Big Apple.’ The ex-Saint is undisputedly the strongest back on the team and he’ll even steal a few of Forte’s touchdowns at the goal-line. When healthy, Robinson is the hammer that every offensive coordinator wants. $1.1M for him is an absolute bargain for general manager Mike Maccagnan and the rest of the front office.
Zac Stacy, Dominique Williams and Romar Morris round out the rest of the running backs on the roster. Stacy has a true chance at cracking the final 53, but it’s hard to see the Jets keeping four. Expect him to battle it out with Robinson and give him a good push for the No. 3 spot on the depth chart. Williams and Morris are obviously on the outside looking in.
Tommy Bohanon is in line to start at fullback for the fourth consecutive season, although Julian Howsare can easily edge him out. He can play both linebacker and fullback which makes him a valuable weapon on special teams. New York struggled mightily in that department in 2015, so Howsare might be exactly who they’re looking for.
Overall, Gang Green has to feel pretty confident about what they have at the position. Experience, versatility and power highlight an incredible Jets’ backfield that will ball out in 2016.