As the New York Jets deal with their latest loss and prepare for their preseason finale against the Philadelphia Eagles, the warning signs are everywhere for running back Matt Forte.
One of the major moves the New York Jets made in the offseason was not to re-sign the popular and bruising running back Chris Ivory. The Jets opted to dip into the free agent market and bring in former Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte.
The numbers leading up to this season, and a major reason why the Jets were fine with replacing Ivory with Forte, are impressive. Forte gives the Jets more of a duel threat coming out of the backfield, as he is very adept at catching the ball.
Since 2008, Forte has posted 12,608 yards from scrimmage, which is the most in the NFL over that span (Adrian Peterson of Minnesota is next with 11,935). Forte’s 4,082 receiving yards since 2008 is just 13 behind Darren Sproles for most in the NFL by a running back since 2008. It’s obvious by those two stats that Forte has been a monster at producing for the Bears so far in his career. However, Forte has now reached the age of no return for a running back (30) and history shows that they start to make a steep decline in production.
The Jets have had the pleasure of suiting up Pro Football Hall of Fame running backs such as Curtis Martin, John Riggins, and LaDainian Tomlinson.
However, they haven’t enjoyed much success with running backs in their first season playing for the Green & White. In the history of the Jets, only Martin and Thomas Jones ran for over 1,000 yards in their first season with the team.
One other major concern for the Jets is the age of Forte.
The list of running backs in their first season who are 30 or older to run for 1,000 yards is a very short list. Only four running backs over 30 in the history of the NFL have rushed for over 1,000 yards in their first season with a new team. All of those running backs were younger than Forte, who will turn 31 in December.
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Only 23 running backs in the history of the NFL have rushed for over 1,000 yards in a season where they turned 31.
Looking at those two lists, the prospects of Forte coming over and making a huge splash in the running game is not very likely.
In today’s NFL, the heavy workload that running backs used to carry has reduced over the last few seasons as more and more teams have adopted the running back by committee theory.
The Jets added Khiry Robinson and currently are testing out a bunch of running backs to help lighten the workload for Forte this season.
However, along with the hamstring injury that Forte has suffered that has made him miss a lot of playing time, their other running backs have hard a hard time staying healthy as well.
One thing is for certain if the Jets are to get a sustained running attack this season, Forte is going to need some help.