NY Jets Optimistic Roster Breakdown: RB Frank Gore

NY Jets (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images) /

NY Jets’ running back Frank Gore will be winding down his legendary career in 2020.

The NY Jets made a point out of addressing their running back depth in the offseason. And one player who could play a pretty important role with the team in 2020 is veteran Frank Gore.

Gore was signed by the Jets in early May after the team saw the likes of Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery walk in free agency. They selected Florida running back La’Mical Perine in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft, but the Jets knew that they wanted a reliable veteran presence as well.

And rather than bring back the long-tenured Powell or the versatile (and criminally underutilized) Montgomery, the Jets decided that Gore was their best option.

Now, expecting Gore to be anything more than a change-of-pace back/veteran locker room leader at this stage of his career is probably a bit far-fetched. But that doesn’t mean that Gore can’t be successful with the Jets in 2020.

What does Frank Gore need to do to turn the 2020 season — his 16th in the NFL — into a success?

Optimistic stats projection

  • 93 carries, 372 rushing yards, 4.0 yards per carry, 5 rushing touchdowns
  • 12 receptions, 113 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown

*All optimistic stats projections are based on a 16-game output because….optimism*

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These stats really depend on what you define as “optimism.” The Jets would love for Perine to take on a bigger role in his rookie season and essentially render Gore’s role in the offense meaningless.

But from Gore’s perspective, that’s not exactly a best-case scenario.

So in this case, Gore still receives a career-low 93 carries (his previous career-low was 127 in his rookie season) while averaging a healthy 4.0 yards per carry. Seeing as though he’s averaged 4.0 yards per carry in only one of his last five seasons, that alone would be a major win.

Perhaps more important are his five touchdowns — equal to his total over the last three seasons and two more than Le’Veon Bell managed last season.

Gore will likely be used in a lot of short-yardage situations and if he could find success in that role, expect the Jets to give him plenty of opportunities for goal-line touchdowns.

As for the receiving game, don’t expect him to be much of a threat there and his 12 catches are on par with his production over the last two years.

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How Frank Gore could find success with the NY Jets in 2020

Gore will find success with the Jets in 2020 if he could solidify a role in the offense and act as a mentor for Perine.

That role, as previously noted, will likely come in short-yardage situations where he could use his power and veteran expertise to find the right hole and push forward to the marker.

That, more or less, was his role with Buffalo last season and I wouldn’t expect that to change much in 2020. In turn, he could see his fair share of goal-line work where he could turn touches into touchdowns.

Of course, a lot of his success will depend on how the Jets’ offensive line performs. Gore isn’t someone who is going to create open space for himself. He’ll drive through would-be tacklers, but his athleticism is a shell of what it once was.

And he was never the fastest or more agile back, to begin with.

Gore, like Bell and the rest of the Jets’ running backs, needs help.

As for his mentorship, most of that will come with his off-field work. Gore was signed to the Jets to serve as veteran insurance but also to act as Perine’s mentor. And in many ways, his success in 2020 will hinge on that.

Last season he filled that role for the Bills mentoring rookie running back Devin Singletary. A third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, Singletary went on to average an excellent 5.1 yards per carry in his rookie season eventually taking over the lead back role.

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That was likely in no small part due to Gore’s mentorship. And if he could provide that same value to the Jets in regards to Perine, 2020 will be a success for the future Hall of Famer.