Jets need to establish a stronger running game
By Michael Henken
Heading into the 2017 season, it was clear that the New York Jets had many holes in their offense, specifically in their passing attack. Yet for whatever reason, they don’t commit to their ground game which needs to change.
Throughout the preseason, head coach Todd Bowles held a three-man competition of sorts in order to name a starting quarterback. Prior to the regular season opener, however, Bowles named veteran Josh McCown the starter over younger options like Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg.
While McCown may have been the best choice, many still expected very little from the Jets’ offense. Aside from the questions surrounding the quarterback position, Gang Green is also lacking at the wide receiver position, although Jermaine Kearse has begun to emerge as a player to watch, as well as on the offensive line.
Those factors certainly don’t help the Jets’ struggling air attack, but there may be another reason why the team has been relatively unsuccessful with the passing game.
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At times, a successful running attack can open opportunities in the air. If a team is consistently gaining yards on the ground, an opposing defense will be forced to adjust in order to stop the attack, which in turn gives the offense more options and chances to succeed with throwing the ball.
The only problem, however, is that the Jets have been struggling quite a bit running the ball this season as well.
Through two games thus far, both of which have ended in losses for Gang Green, carries have essentially been split between Matt Forte and Bilal Powell, with Forte being handed the ball on 15 different occasions and Powell receiving 13 carries of his own.
Despite a decent amount of carries being given to both men, Forte has totaled only 69 yards, while Powell has totaled only 35 yards. Both are averaging under five yards per attempt, and neither has scored a touchdown. In fact, McCown is the only Jet to have rushed for a touchdown in 2017 thus far.
As previously mentioned, few expected much from the Jets in terms of passing this year, but the team does indeed have some talent in the backfield. Of course, a lacking offensive line doesn’t help the running game, but the Jets should look to not only focus more on running the ball, but the team should also demand more out of its backs.
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A stronger running game would certainly lead to more overall success for the Jets, but it could also help to improve the team’s passing attack, which at this point, is a glaring problem amongst a list of various issues for Gang Green.