The New York Jets are preparing for the long season ahead as this time around, they should use running back Matt Forte more effectively on offense. Here are the top three ways to capitalize on his unique skill set in 2017.
When it comes to the New York Jets, 2017 will more than likely end up being a season to forget. The truth of the matter is, the Jets lack developed talent and have purged their roster of veterans in hopes of rebuilding.
That’s right, rebuilding towards a brighter future by going with one of the youngest rosters in the NFL. It won’t be easy but there is hope that as the season progresses, all these young players develop into cornerstones for the future. But as of right now, just a handful of veterans remain, especially running back Matt Forte.
Forte came to the Jets last offseason via free agency and while putting up a valiant effort on an anemic offense, still has some gas left in the tank. The problem was, former offensive coordinator Chan Gailey didn’t use him to his strengths.
With new offensive coordinator John Morton in town, things should be different this time around for No. 22. Without further ado, here are the top three ways to effectively use Forte on offense this upcoming season.
Next: 3. Delegate to situational role
3. Delegate to situational role
While Forte still has some gas left in the tank, it’s important to remember he’s not the same No. 1 running back of the past. Time has caught up with him as it’s imperative to keep Forte fresh and effective all season long, the Jets should delegate him as a backup and used in situational roles.
Forte is consistent when it comes to keeping those chains moving but in the grand scheme of things, would make more sense to call his number in such key situations. You know, ones like 3rd and short or even to open up the field for whoever is under center as a receiving option on 2nd and long.
Since the Jets are rebuilding, it seems highly likely that fellow running back Bilal Powell will win the starting job in training camp and well, get the majority of reps. It makes sense since Powell has the skill set to push the envelope and more importantly, be a focal point on offense in the future.
That doesn’t mean Forte can’t get the job done anymore but if Morton can use his abilities on key 3rd down situations and to keep opposing defenses on their toes in special offensive packages, it would be more successful than anything we saw last season.
Next: 2. Commit to running the football
2. Commit to running the football
It’s no secret that the Jets will have one big question mark when it comes to quarterback, the most important position on the team. Of course, if they commit to and establish the run, it will help alleviate the stress for whoever starts under center.
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The Jets have a good corps at running back to give everyone an opportunity to contribute and do their part. The wide receiver corps of the Jets are young and inexperienced for the most part so don’t expect the team to win a lot of football games by airing it out.
They can, however, use their ground game to not only gain an advantage in the time of possession battle but also give Forte an opportunity to do his part relieving those above him. Even with a terrible offense in 2016, Forte did manage to still total 813 rushing yards, 218 rushes, seven touchdowns, and dealt with nagging knee injuries for most of the regular season.
If the Jets put Forte in a position to contribute as a backup and in situational roles to rush, he would add a significant boost to the overall ground game of the Jets coming off the bench. He won’t be able to be an effective starter anymore but used strategically to eat up yardage on the ground due to an established ground game would be an area of strength for the Jets.
Next: 1. Used as a receiving target
1. Used as a receiving target
At the end of the day, Forte made a career for himself as an effective receiving target coming out of the backfield. Even during his tenure with the Chicago Bears, Forte was an absolute beast when it came to hauling in a reception and going the distance.
Despite knowing this last season, Gailey failed to use Forte in this aspect and dropped the ball in this area. Last season with the Jets as a receiving target, Forte only totaled 263 receiving yards, 30 receptions, and scored just one touchdown.
This time around, Morton should not only use Forte as a backup in a situational role but increase his usage as a receiving option. Too many times last season the offense of the Jets was boring and predictable, but hopefully, Morton installs a playbook that is not only effective but also features intricate plays to utilize players like Forte to his full capabilities.
Forte has always had a knack for racking up extra yards after a reception as his career average is 8.5 yards. Using Forte as a receiving target will bring more upside considering everything he brings to table. If the Jets use Forte correctly in his sophomore season with the franchise, he will prove to many that his career isn’t over just yet.