3. Ty Johnson, RB, NY Jets
There hasn’t been much to shout about from an offensive standpoint in the opening two games, particularly following Zach Wilson’s dismal afternoon against the Patriots.
One thing that has stood out, however, is the vast improvements shown already in the running game.
Pro Football Focus ranked the Jets as having the weakest running back group in the NFL on paper heading into the 2021 season, and while they struggled against the Panthers, they did make an impression against the Patriots, totaling 152 rushing yards.
Rookie Michael Carter has gotten off to a good start, and alongside him, the veteran Tevin Coleman is expected to receive plenty of touches this year, yet the forgotten man who has impressed has been Ty Johnson.
Having taken the most carries of any Jets back over the first two games and produced a solid average of 4.1 yards per carry, the best average amongst Jets backs, it has been a pleasant surprise to see Johnson featured so much in the regular season.
Johnson has so far backed up a successful summer and he looks to be an important piece for the Jets in their offense, despite being waived just three weeks into his sophomore NFL season in 2020.
His darting fourth-quarter run and 11-yard reception against the Panthers were notable highlights from Week 1, backed up by some solid running in the second half against the Patriots in Week 2.
It was a shame to see offensive coordinator Mike LaFluer somewhat abandon the running game at times during both games, particularly given that Carter and Johnson looked impressive.
Competition at running back is high and while Johnson may not prove to be a standout in the future, he has made a decent impression to start the 2021 season.