New York Jets Preseason Week 1 Running Back Film Breakdown

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Dalbin Osorio has returned to the TOJ film room to break down the film of the New York Jets running backs from Week 1 of the NFL Preseason. Let’s get to it -

Players Active – Bilal Powell, Chad Spann, John Griffin, Mossis Madu
Team Rushes – 16
Team Yards – 37 yards
Team Yards Per Carry – 2.2

Play 1: Bilal Powell, one yard carry

On 2nd and 10, the Jets ran a straight handoff out of the shotgun formation with Powell. Bilal took the handoff and went behind right guard Stephen Peterman, who got minimal push on Nick Fairley (something Peterman has struggled with in the past, and something we at TOJ have highlighted before). Fairley was able to stop Powell after a 1 yard gain. If Petermen knocked Fairley back at least one or two yards, Powell would’ve had an opportunity to reach the second level of the Lions defense.

Play 2: Bilal Powell, two yard carry

With the Jets needing one yard to go for a new set of downs, Powell got a direct handoff and ran behind Nick Mangold and Willie Colon for the two yards needed for a first down Powell didn’t waste time dancing in the backfield, as he followed his linemen before being tackled by Stephen Tulloch.

Play 3: Bilal Powell, minus 2 yard carry

First down and 10 yards to go after Powell picked up the first down on the previous play, new Jets offensive coordinator Marty Morningwheg called Powell’s number again. However, Detroit Lions rookie Ziggy Ansah was able to tackle Powell in the backfield for a two yard loss. This was a great play by the Lions rookie because he was able to get past a very good left tackle in D’Brickashaw Ferguson to make this stop. Powell doesn’t have great cutback ability, so once Ansah got passed Brick, the play was doomed.

Play 4: Bilal Powell, three yard carry

The Jets broke out their famed version of the Wildcat (brought to the NFL by new Quarterbacks coach David Lee), with Bilal Powell taking the direct snap and running behind Willie Colon for three yards. Powell showed good decisiveness but there was minimal push by the offensive line and he couldn’t make anybody miss.

Play 5: Bilal Powell, 11 yard carry

This was Bilal Powell’s best run of the game. He took a hand off up the middle and hit the hole created by Nick Mangold and Willie Colon hard. Once again, Powell showed decisiveness upon receiving the hand off and reached the second level of the Lions defense. Here he was able to lower his shoulder, initiate contact, and pick up 11 yards and another Jets first down. Up until this point, Powell had been getting minimum traction behind the Jets offensive line. He displayed a willingness to initiate contact, which is something scouts liked about him coming out of Louisville.

Play 6: Bilal Powell, 3 yard carry

Going to the well once more, Morningwheg calls another running play to Powell. This time, however, the Lions got a terrific push upfront. Powell, seemingly recognizing this, kept his legs moving and was able to turn what could’ve been a loss into a 3 yard gain.

Play 7: Bilal Powell, minus one yard carry

First and 10 at midfield, Bilal Powell got a handoff off tackle behind Austin Howard. Howard, like the rest of the Jets offensive line for a majority of this game, was moved off of his block and this led to a one yard loss after the Jets moved to midfield. Powell couldn’t elude the second Lions defender that got around Howard, and he was stopped behind the line of scrimmage for a one yard loss.

Play 8: Bilal Powell, one yard carry

The Jets lined up in a shotgun formation, with Bilal Powell next to Geno Smith. Smith handed the ball to Powell, who tried to run it up the middle. However, Powell was stuffed for only a one yard gain as the Jets offensive line was again dominated up front. Through 8 carries, this has actually become a worrisome pattern, which I will touch upon at the end of the film breakdown. Very rarely did the Jets offensive line create holes for Powell (nor any of the other running backs). Powell isn’t a back that can make people miss on a consistent basis and therefore needs the offensive line to open holes for him in order for him to be successful.

Play 9: Bilal Powell, minus four yard carry

The Jets came out in the shotgun again, with Powell next to Geno Smith. Powell took the hand off and tried to take it around the left end, but Lions swarmed him in the back field and stopped him four yards behind the line of scrimmage. The Jets offensive line, once again, got zero push against the Lions front four, and Powell was stuffed again.

Play 10: Chad Spann, minus four yard carry

The Jets lined up in a shotgun formation with 4 wide, with Spann as the lone running back in the backfield. Spann received a hand off and tried to cut up the middle, but was stuffed again for a loss of four yards. He attempted to dance a bit, whereas Powell showed more decisiveness when these shotgun run plays were called.

Play 11: John Griffin, 9 yard gain

John Griffin took the first handoff of the 2nd half and bounced it outside to the right end of the formation. Griffin showed some shiftiness, as he initially tried to run behind the right guard, but bounced the run around the right tackle. He was pushed out of bounds, and actually ended up breaking his leg on this play. Griffin is now out for the year.

Play 12: Chad Spann, one yard run

Spann received his second carry of the ball game, and ran out to the right side for a gain of a yard. With minimal push by the Jets offensive line. Spann tried to be patient and allow the play to develop but was quickly swallowed up by the Lions D.

Play 13: Mossis Madu, 5 yard carry

Newly signed RB Mossis Madu received his first carry as a Jet, and he ran around the left end of the formation for a gain of five yards. Madu was able to get to the outside of the formation very quickly and was able to pick up good yardage and a Jets first down. Madu flashed a little more quickness than Powell and was just as decisive on this run.

Play 14: Mossis Madu, 3 yard carry

Madu received his second carry of the game, a straight handoff off right tackle, and followed his offensive lineman for a modest 3 yard gain. Madu didn’t try to bounce the run outside, like he did on the first carry, and instead chose to display patience and follow his offensive lineman.

Play 15: Mossis Madu, 4 yard carry

Out of the shotgun, Madu took the handoff and ran it up the middle for four yards. He displayed good vision and was able to follow his offensive lineman’s block and pick up positive yardage again.

The 16th run was a Geno Smith scramble, so it wasn’t broken down here.

The Verdict

The Jets rushing attack will look much different with Chris Ivory as the starter and either Mike Goodson, Bilal Powell, or Joe McKnight as the change of pace back. Yet it was concerning how few holes the Jets offensive line opened up. The Jets running backs had ony four total runs of 4 or more yards. Stephen Peterman and Austin Howard struggled. The Jets were able to gain better traction running behind Willie Colon and D’Brickashaw Ferguson, but running behind only one side of your offensive line is one of the quickest ways to make your offense predictable. Peterman and Howard were repeatedly beaten off of their blocks by the Lions front four. Other linemen that didn’t fare well in the run game include Vlad Ducasse, Oday Aboushi, and Will Campbell. The hope is that Brian Winters can seize the RG job before the start of the regular season, because that could go a long way towards shoring up that side of the line.

The running backs that played against Detroit don’t possess game breaking ability. Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson do, which is why you can hopefully curb some of your pessimism Jets Nation. Powell was decisive with the ball, but there weren’t many holes for him to run through. Madu was shifty and decisive as well and displayed patience, which was a plus. Chad Spann did nothing of note. John Griffin had a 9 yard run that was a positive, but he was lost for the year on it. As a Jets fan, you should be concern if Ivory has to miss time during the regular season because the depth behind him, while adequate, doesn’t have any game breakers. Powell can fill in for Goodson on 3rd downs, because he’s good at pass protection and has solid hands, but Ivory is a key element to making the entire offense work.

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  • Angel

    “…Austin Howard struggled”

    YES! Finally, someone speaks the truth about Austin Howard. And if you think he struggled in the run game – wait until you see the passing game.

    Honestly, what options are out there for RT? AND, how about J.B. Shugarts? No joke, I thought he played pretty good. How bad was the Lion’s D at that point? 4th and 5th stringers?

  • KAsh

    Quite disheartening when it is broken down like this. When watching the game, the 11-yd. runs stick with you and you forget most of the times the RBs got stuffed at the line. The line (and the running game) was supposed to be the strength of this offense, but was wobbly in Detroit. Hopefully, Ivory plays well on Saturday and Madu continues to be consistent, otherwise we will need another veteran RB.

  • MattZ

    Lions have strong Dline, so this is a tough game for any OLine. But Peterman is a backup, Winters is untested. Campbell & Oday are headed for practice squad. Ducasse may stick but wouldn’t be surprised if they pick up some vet week before season.

  • kc.

    I’m nowhere NEAR giving up on Austin Howard. Cause’ he had a bad PREseason game?? This guy was HUGE for us last year.

  • kc.

    secondly,Detroit has one of the BEST D-lines in football!

  • Angel

    @KC, you feel like a lot of the TOTJ writers. I’m not even going to get into his piss poor production last season. I’m going to break down Austin Howard each week until everyone says… “Yeah, Yeah, we get it! He sucks. Move on, please!”

    Nothing personal, but I just can’t understand the man-crush everyone has on this guy.

    This was my previous Breakdown:

    Watching the game again briefly [condensed version on PreSeason Live - an awesome app] allow me to ‘highlight’ Austin Howard’s performance:

    1. First offensive play of the game: He’s pushed back into Mark Sanchez standing at the goal line, potentially giving up a safety. Mark rushes his throw, incomplete to Bilal Powell.

    2. Second play of the game: Inside give to Bilal Powell and Austin drives the defender [55 Tulloch] into Powell, helping his momentum and aiding in the Tackle. Austin should get credit for and assist here.

    3. The INFAMOUS INT to Ziggy Ansah: Beat by an inside spin move, he lets #79 Willie Young in Sanchez’ face. The screen fails to develop [the FB #40 stumbles - actually tackled] because Sanchez can’t hold on to the ball another second. Instead of Sanchez throwing it away into the dirt, or eating a sack, he PANICS and throws the ball weakly [while falling backwards] and it’s an easy pick for Ansah.

    I CHALLENGE ANYONE TO LOOK AT THE GAME AND TELL ME I’M WRONG.

    DO IT!

    4. Second possession 3rd and 17 [BTW, who many times was Mark in 3rd and long?!? It's not even funny.]: Guess who? Willie Young #79 fights through a half assed chip shot to get in Sanchez’ face, AGAIN, and Sanchez is forced to dump it off to Kerley, short of the first down. End of drive.

    Third possession drive, Austin Howard gets away with a false start [rocking back in his stance] and an obvious hold on Suh during a short Bilal Powell run.

    5. Third Possession 1st and 20: Austin is beat again, overpowered. With Willie Young #79 in his hip pocket, Sanchez is quick on the draw enough to throw a strike to Cumberland for the TD… just as Young hits his feet.

    AM I EXAGGERATING? PROVE ME WRONG… I TRIPLE DOG DARE YOU!

    It doesn’t end there, but I think this is enough. He even ended Geno’s first drive. Willie Young turns Austin Howard around like a LITERAL TURNSTILE. It was so easy his forward momentum met no resistance and Willie fell down. He then got back up, continued forward and smacked Geno’s pass into the turf… DENIED!

    MEANWHILE – ZERO mention on how RT #79 J.B. Shugarts kicked ass. He played a pretty flawless game. Now… it could have everything to do with the quality of competition, but I thought he did damn good.

    Oday Aboushi looked like a clown. Honestly, he got tossed around like a rag doll SEVERAL times.

    GUYS — THIS O-LINE IS IN BIIIIGGGG TROUBLE IF BRIAN WINTERS DOESN’T OVERACHIEVE AND DO BETTER THAN EXPECTED. THIS LINE IS IN BIIIIGGGG TROUBLE IF WE DON’T GET A STARTING RT.

    I encourage all of you writers at TOTJ to put your feelings for Austin Howard aside and take an HONEST and objective look. I’m convinced he is a friend of the site and you guys and that’s why you hype him. I have nothing against the guy, he is probably a very nice guy, probably a very cool guy, but… C’Mon Man!!

  • http://totj mike ech

    @ Angel, spot on brother.

  • joeydefiant

    Howard played as well as a average RT last season. For an undrafted rookie that is pretty good. You assume that rookie year is his floor. Hopefully he will improve with experience. One bad game which was the first preseason game of the year is no reason to panic and forget about what he did last year.