The New York Jets will be boosted this week by the return of running back and kick returner Mike Goodson. After being signed in the off-season to a three year contract, Goodson was suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL’s policy and program for substances of abuse.
Despite Bilal Powell’s terrific start (66 carries, 292 yards, 11 receptions, 108 yards), the Jets could badly use Goodson’s speed and explosiveness on both offense and special teams. They have been one of the worst return teams in football and are thin at running back with Chris Ivory nursing a hamstring injury. Powell is a very effective inside runner but Goodson should be able to bring some punch on outside runs and in the screen game.
Here is a quick refresher on his game and what he could bring to the table.
- Goodson had 35 carries for 221 yards with a 6.3 YPC last season for Oakland. He also had 16 receptions for 195 yards. Despite the limited action, he had four plays that went for 40 yards or longer.
- In 2010, Goodson received his most extended work. For the Carolina Panthers, he had 103 carries for 452 yards along with 40 receptions for 310 yards. Twice he was given over 20 carries in a game and both times he cracked 100 yards rushing.
- He has 92 career kick returns with a long of 51 yards and a career average of 21.83 yard per return.
The conclusion on Mike Goodson is that he is a pretty well rounded back. He is excellent in the zone scheme and above average in power and man blocking schemes. This has allowed him to average 6.3 YPC in 2012 and 4.5 YPC overall. He can catch the ball and has shown the ability to be a competent kick returner. Goodson can be a game breaker out of the backfield, something the Jets desperately need. He also shows the mental capacity to pick up a new offense pretty quickly.
Perhaps, the most positive thing I can say about Goodson is that he seems to get better every year despite limited touches. In looking at scouting reports from 2010 and 2011, Goodson’s biggest flaw was his inability to hang on to the football. He had 6 fumbles and 7 dropped passes in 2010. In 2012, Goodson didn’t have any fumbles or dropped passes. He seems to have the determination to fix the things he struggles with and hopefully can apply that to his pass protection.
Mike Goodson has a wonderful ability to make people miss, but it can come at the expense of just ‘hitting it up in there’ and getting three yards. Think of him as a very poor man’s Barry Sanders in that regard. Expect Goodson to act as more of a 3rd down back, taking the passing plays, the draw runs on passing downs and playing pass protector.
Finally, for the same article I spoke with Levi Damien from Silver and Black Pride, who covered Goodson last season in Oakland.
He has the skill set and talent (to be a 3rd down back and 1B option) but he may not have the durability. He is very small both in stature and in bulk which limits the punishment he can take. I see him as always having a complementary role in an offense much like Darren Sproles has had his entire career. He will offer a burst of speed an energy off the bench or in a two back set.
As you can see, Goodson has an intriguing skill set that could be a valuable addition to the Jets offense. Considering how banged up they are at receiver, it will be interesting to see if Goodson is quickly incorporated into the passing game as an option on screens and safe check downs for Geno Smith. Hopefully, he will also immediately supplant the ever ineffective Clyde Gates at kick returner.
A quick word also on wide receiver David Nelson who the Jets also signed yesterday. Despite being built like a split end (6’5, 215 pounds), Nelson works most effectively in the slot. He peaked as a key third down target for the Buffalo Bills in 2011 with 61 receptions, 658 yards and 5 touchdowns. After missing all of 2012 with a torn ACL (hurt against the Jets actually), he hadn’t caught on anywhere until yesterday. Nelson has very good hands and is a savvy route runner, if healthy. It remains to be seen how he can explode in and out of his cuts and if he can still be a strong target in the short to intermediate passing game. With all the injuries and inconsistency at wide receiver, he should get a good shot at playing time here at some point.