We continue our series on the New York Jets training camp battles, taking a look at the halfback position. After quarterback, the halfback competition seems to pack the most drama and intensity. Between the newcomers, the unproven, and those trying to save their career, this is one competition that will look much different by preseason’s end than it does at the moment. Let’s examine the current candidates –
The designated “work horse” back on the roster. Ivory was brought to the team in exchange for a fourth round pick. Ivory has the size, strength, and speed to be a premier back. In limited time catching the ball he has shown natural hands, he just needs more reps catching out of the backfield. The biggest issue preventing Ivory from potentially being the Jets lead back is health. If he can stay healthy, there is no debating that he will receive a large majority of the carries on this team.
Once deemed as the ultimate wildcard before legal problems and not showing up to training camp, I fully expect Goodson to be a non-factor. He has the speed to be the main guy behind Ivory and an absolute demon catching the ball, but no one is exactly sure what’s going on with him. The legal issues were a big enough problem, but not showing up to camp will only decrease Goodson’s chance of making the team. He’ll need to show up soon and really flash playmaking skill to warrant a roster spot.
The former fourth round pick really doesn’t possess the “wow” factor, but could find a role on this team with solid play due to the lack of running back depth. One aspect of the game Powell excels in is blitz pick up, making him the number one candidate as the Jets third down back.
Another former fourth round pick that might be on his last breath as a Jet. There’s no doubting that McKnight has talent, but it hasn’t translated to the offense at all. He’s an excellent kick returner, but he could even lose that role to former Hawaii cornerback and UDFA Mike Edwards. McKnight’s had a rough start to training camp, being slowed down by migraines throughout the first practice in pads. It’s time to put up or shut up, Joe.
It seems that at every Jets training camp there is a running back on the roster no one knew in the offseason, who lashes talent all throughout preseason, but doesn’t make the team due to being the odd man out. We’ve seen this with Chauncey Washington, Danny Woodhead, Terrence Ganaway, and this year’s version will most likely be John Griffin, barring an unexpected injury. Griffin has impressed this offseason but he’ll have to make a real statement in preseason games to make the Jets.
Probably the only guy on this list you know absolutely nothing about, besides being brought in after corner back Aaron Berry tore his ACL and was lost for the season. Spann is a smaller back, standing at 5’8 and weighing around 198 pounds. He has yet to see any NFL in game action and would be the surprise of camp if he out plays every running back not named Chris Ivory.