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Jets dropped the ball in 2017 with Bilal Powell

By Luis Tirado Jr.
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 22: Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets rushes during the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 22: Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets rushes during the second quarter against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on October 22, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)
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The New York Jets once again dropped the ball in 2017 when it came to not using running back Bilal Powell to his full potential but rather, overused Matt Forte which proved to be ineffective all season long.

Before the 2017 regular season began, fans of the New York Jets knew exactly what was going on. The Jets were rebuilding and by that mentality, wanted to start a new era of youth where they would focus on developing their younger football players to get them ready for the future.

They did this across various positional groups on the roster all season long but for whatever reason, failed to use this mentality when it came to their running back situation. On the depth chart, veteran running back Matt Forte was the starter, his backup was Bilal Powell, and finally, the third-string spot was held down by rookie Elijah McGuire.

The Jets focused too much on Forte as he was given way too many reps as a starter considering he totaled the worst season of his entire career. Last season, Forte totaled 103 rushes, 381 rushing yards, and just two touchdowns. Powell totaled 172 rushes, 772 rushing yards, and five touchdowns. McGuire totaled 88 rushes, 315 rushing yards, and one touchdown.

Ideally, it would have made far more sense to switch things around at running back as the season progressed. Powell has undoubtedly earned the nod to be considered starting material as the Jets should have given more reps for him to do what he does best and even incorporate McGuire a bit more on offense. The rookie sensation out of Louisiana-Lafayette could have added a nice dimension on offense instead of spending most of his season on the sideline.

This isn’t anything new when it comes to the Jets as even in the past, they continue to not use Powell to his strengths and put him in a position to make a major impact. Powell has developed nicely over the years as a dual threat, capable of keeping those chains moving on the ground or even as a solid receiving target out of the backfield. But the Jets continued to feed the rock to Forte in what was most likely his last season with the Jets.

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Again, it just didn’t make any sense since Forte is already getting up there in age and was once again dealing with injuries for the majority of the season. The Jets should have used Forte in more of a situational role rather than continuing to start him hoping he could be more of a difference maker.

Needless to say, Forte’s 3.7 yards per attempt was the second lowest among all three running backs. Powell led the positional group with his 4.3 yards per attempt and McGuire ended with 3.6 but that was again, due to him riding the bench for most of last season.

Overall, considering that Forte will be gone this offseason, hopefully, the Jets wisen up and notice that Powell can lead the charge at running back and has all the attributes needed to easily total a 1,000+ yard rushing season. It’s time they fully committed to Powell and let him shine by giving him the majority of starting reps at the position. Not only could he be a game-changing running back but will finally prove that he’s ready for the spotlight after working his way up the depth chart over the past seven seasons with the Jets.

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