What will be the role of Matt Forte now on the Jets?
By Michael Henken
As the 2017 season progresses, Matt Forte’s role on the New York Jets continues to become more and more unclear.
Prior to the start of the regular season, I argued that veteran running back Matt Forte may have become too unreliable, and that’s proven to be somewhat true. The veteran running back of the New York Jets simply isn’t getting the job done.
Through four games this season, the 31-year-old has rushed for just 94 yards on 23 attempts, while having not yet scored a touchdown. He’s also currently dealing with a toe injury. In addition to the possibility that Forte has become too unreliable, his role for the Jets also continues to be a question.
Due to his lack of production and his health issues, it’s unlikely that Forte will be the successful starting running back that the Jets were hoping he would be when the team signed him in March of 2016.
That may not be too big of an issue, however.
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While Forte has been struggling, Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire have emerged as potential key players for the future.
The 28-year-old Powell is a veteran Jet, having been with the team since 2011, and while he’s shown promising signs over the years, it appears as if he’s just now being given his shot, and thus far, he’s making the most of it.
The Louisville alum has rushed for 235 yards on 49 attempts in 2017 while scoring two touchdowns. He also had a 75-yard run this past weekend that helped lead the Jets to a 23-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
McGuire, on the other hand, was drafted 188th overall by the Jets in the 2017 NFL Draft, and while many have likely overlooked him, the 23-year-old has had a strong start to the season. Rushing for 156 yards on 23 attempts, 62 yards more than Forte on the same amount of carries, McGuire broke out against the Jaguars, picking up 93 yards on the ground. He also had an impressive 69-yard touchdown in that game.
Not only have Powell and McGuire been the Jets’ most successful backs throughout the season thus far, but both are quite young with an incredible amount of potential. Being that the Jets are in a rebuilding year, and don’t let their record fool you because they are indeed rebuilding, the team should look to put more attention into molding a strong backfield driven by Powell and McGuire.
With that being said, questions may soon arise as to what do with Forte. Given the state of the team as well as the state of Forte himself, it’s clear that he shouldn’t be the Jets’ No. 1 back. That’s not to say there’s no place for him, however.
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Given his experience, Forte can certainly be a leader and mentor to both Powell and McGuire, and if he can remain healthy, he could add to the Jets’ running attack in small spurts. It’s clear, however, that the young and rebuilding Jets have promise and potential in their backfield. Forte just may not be a part of those future plans.