2. NY Jets position battle: Running back
Whether it has been talked about or not, the Jets running back room is going to be vital to the team’s success in 2021. That is just the case when an organization has a rookie quarterback under center.
With a reliable run game, a young quarterback can get comfortable throwing the ball, as defenses have to worry about the handoff. It also will be important because of Mike LaFleur’s offense using the outside zone run game to open up the play-action pass.
In other words, New York needs shifty, elusive, and explosive backs who can make those sharp cuts, whether inside or out. Luckily, the Jets have three running backs that fit that bill exactly.
Tevin Coleman is the veteran looking to bounce back after an injury-riddled year. He follows LaFleur from San Francisco, where he spent the past two seasons. If back at full strength, his experience certainly gives him an advantage to winning the starting job.
Michael Carter is the rookie looking to quickly establish himself in New York’s likely committee backfield approach. He may only be 5-foot-8 and 201 pounds, yet his do-it-all playmaking ability could separate him from the rest of the pack.
As for Ty Johnson, he looks to prove his hot finish to 2020 was no fluke. He fits the scheme perfectly and provides a spark when in the game.
Those three will be the main guys competing for the starting job and reps in the committee. However, they are not the only running backs fighting to make the roster.
2020 fourth-round pick La’Mical Perine finds himself fighting an uphill battle as his physical rushing style does not include the speed and elusiveness necessary to thrive in LaFleur’s offense. At the same time, it could be his strength that separates him from the rest of the pack.
As for Josh Adams, he showed late in 2020 he can be a shifty back. At 6-foot-2 and 225 pounds, Adams could make his money as a short-yardage rusher.
Last but not least is Austin Walter, who spent last season with the 49ers. He too is in the mix, being an undersized back who can both run and catch.