It wasn’t the nine carries for 25 yards against Houston last Monday night that has Jets fans both curious and excited about the potential of Bilal Powell. It was the athleticism and calm sensibility that he displayed from the carries. Powell cut back, broke out of packs, waited patiently for his blockers, showed a burst, and an energy. With Shonn Greene out Sunday night due to a skin infection and Joe McKnight dealing with the concussion received against the Texans, the bulk of the work against the Bengals will be handed to Ladainian Tomlinson, and Powell.
Powell had eleven touchdowns and a combined 5.6 yards average from the line of scrimmage as a senior at Louisville. Those numbers somewhat mirror the eight touchdown, 6.2 rushing yards per carry accomplishments that McKnight, also battling for the number three job, achieved during his senior year at USC.
At this time last year, McKnight was in the doghouse. A fumbling, vomiting rookie who was unsure of himself. This year, especially after his 158 yard performance against the Bills in the final week heading into camp, McKnight began camp as third on the depth chart. With the upside potential to receive more work provided that he could turn his speed and solid hands into chunks of yardage. McKnight still may be that weapon for Gang Green.
This Sunday night however, is Powell’s chance to show the Jets what he can be, as he gets work against the Bengals first team defense. A solid night from the Jets fourth round selection in this year’s NFL draft will create an interesting backfield drama as training camp heads into the latter stages.