The New York Jets are hoping they will win plenty of football games thanks to a potent rushing attack. With running back Matt Forte leading the way, he chimes in on what it was like to finally be back on a football field this preseason.
Ah yes, the days of ground-and-pound are officially in full swing with the New York Jets. This offseason, the Jets made sure to replace running back Chris Ivory, who bolted via free agency to the Jacksonville Jaguars, with a player that could be even more impactful. The Jets quickly acquired running back Matt Forte via free agency to fill the void despite reports that his age and hamstring injury might be early warning signs that it might not have been a good move.
As the preseason began, Forte didn’t play the first two games due to a hamstring injury which had many concerned if it would be an issue during the regular season. The leadership regime handled the situation well and gave him enough time to rehab in order to ensure he’d be good to go come Week 1 against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals.
Against the New York Giants last week in preseason Week 3 action, Forte finally got his feet wet and was able to suit up and play. His debut was a successful one and offered a small glimpse of the kind of impact he’ll have on his new team.
Forte totaled 28 rushing yards on 10 attempts. While he didn’t score a touchdown, it was a great sight to see him get some reps in on offense. It remains to be seen if he’ll see any playing time in the preseason Week 4 finale against the Philadelphia Eagles but it’s safe to say he should be able to continue being a force to reckon with in the future.
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The Jets put all the cards on the table in hopes of bringing Forte’s unique skill-set to an offense that set several records last year.
Considering Ivory was able to hit over 1,000 rushing yards, Forte could possibly exceed that due to being more durable and a dual-threat out of the backfield.
Since Forte is playing with a huge chip on his shoulder due to the Chicago Bears not re-signing him this offseason, he could very well put up a huge season with the Jets in his debut year in the city that never sleeps.
Right after the Giants vs Jets game, Forte had this to say about his debut, courtesy of the Media Relations Department of the Jets:
On how he felt throughout the game…
Physically I felt as good as I’ve felt throughout camp and practice and stuff, so I felt 100 percent out there. Just trying to get the feel of the game back and stuff like that. Not the statistics that you would want on a debut of coming out, but we have a lot to work on. Just as a team as a whole and as an offensive unit as a whole, we have a lot to work on. We got the ball down there and we didn’t get any points on the punt block and we should have. The defense created a lot of good field position and a lot of turnovers they got for us and we need to capitalize on those things and so that’s something we have to work on.
On if he got the sense from Chan Gailey that he would get more reps…
I don’t know. I know I was going to play the first half. I knew that. If I’m playing the first half, I knew I’d probably get the ball a little bit more than you would say, just a couple of series.
On how he felt he worked into the game…
It’s the same feeling as the last eight years I’ve been playing. What I try to do is just to try to go as hard as I can in practice so that it transfers over into the game. It wasn’t anything that was surprising out there or anything like that.
Aug 27, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) hands the ball off to New York Jets running back Matt Forte (22) in the 1st half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
On if he needed to be hit during training camp…
Like I said before, I’ve been playing this long. I don’t think you really need any more hits. It’s just good to get out there in a full-speed environment because it’s just a little bit faster than in practice when stuff is on the line like that. A game environment is just different than practice. It’s a need that you have to do in preseason to go into the regular season and to get you ready for the regular season.
On how much potential he sees in the offense…
We have great potential. But the thing about potential is you have to reach that potential. That’s what we’re continuing to work towards. We have a lot of great talent on offense and a great playbook and a system to be in, but we have to work at it every single day to make it work.
Overall, excitement is in the air to see if Forte can resemble his old self and push the envelope for the Jets in 2016. Coming off a 10-6 season, all eyes are on Gang Green to continue their momentum. Except this time around, perhaps thanks to a big year by Forte, earning an entry into the NFL Playoffs when all is said and done.