Hello New York Jets fans! After a somewhat surprising 8-8 season for Gang Green, the attention now shifts to the offseason. Armed with an expected 10-12 picks and $35+ million in cap space, the Jets figure to be active both in free agency and in the draft. With that said, It’s time to hand out the grades for 2014 for the New York Jets Running Backs. I’ll include Mike Goodson in the grades and will be subtracting Geno Smith’s rushing totals. I will also include a link to TOJ’s “Who Stays, Who Goes” so you can see what changes may be made to the Jets running backs core for 2014. It is a group that may remain unchanged for the most part, but you should familiarize yourself with some names in case John Idzik elects to upgrade the group. Let’s get to it.
Running Backs: Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell, Mike Goodson, Tommy Bohanon, Alex Green
Total Carries: 393
Rushing Yards: 1688
Yards Per Carry: 4.2
Total Touches: 446
Total Yards: 2058
Yards Per Touch: 4.6
Total Touchdowns: 4
1. Bilal Powell, B
2013 Stats: 178 carries for 697 yards, 4.0 YPC, 1 TD, 36 receptions for 272 yards, 7.6 yards per reception
Notable Stat: 1 fumble in 178 carries (212 touches total), one of only 8 running backs in the league with at least 175 carries and only one fumble (L. McCoy, E. Lacy, Z. Stacy, L. Bell, K. Moreno, M. Drew, D. Williams, & L. Miller)
Best Game: Week 3 vs Buffalo, 27 carries for 147 yards and a 5.5 yard per carry average.
Worst Game: Week 6 vs Pittsburgh, 9 carries for 30 yards and a 3.3 yard per carry average.
Analysis: Bilal had a season filled with role changes, an inconsistent number of carries, and what was once slated as a breakout season for Powell based off of his first quarter didn’t pan out. However, Bilal did have a solid season as he posted 969 total yards of offense on 212 total touches. This was good for a 4.5 yards per touch average. Bilal began the season as the starter, then shifted to a back up when Chris Ivory got healthy and Mike Goodson returned.
However, once Mike Goodson got hurt Bilal took over Goodson’s spot as the change of pace back while Ivory received the majority of the carries. Then, with Ivory cracking a rib in Sunday’s finale against the Dolphins, Bilal returned to his lead back role and had a good game with 21 carries for 76 yards. Bilal is solid and dependable, and you know what you’re going to get from him on most weeks. He’s a glue guy. Week 17 was a good capper to a solid year for the former Louisville Cardinal.
2. Chris Ivory, B+
2013 Stats: 182 carries for 833 yards, 4.6 YPC, 3 TD, 2 receptions for 10 yards, 5.0 yards per reception
Notable Stat: His 4.6 yards per carry was tied for 4th best in the league amongst running backs who received 180+ carries (tied w/ Matt Forte, Alfred Morris, & CJ Spiller).
Best Game: Week 8 vs New Orleans, 18 carries for 139 yards & a TD & a 7.7 yard per carry average.
Worst Game: Week 10 @ Baltimore, 9 carries for 35 yards and a 3.5 yard per carry average.
Analysis: The trade for Chris Ivory was John Idzik’s second best move of the 2013 offseason, and we at TOJ felt this before Ivory stepped on the field. Ivory validated Idzik’s trade by becoming the big, bruising running back that Rex trusts. His 4.6 yards per carry were impressive, but get this: the Jets were 3-0 when Ivory ran for 100+ yards.
Ivory ran with determination all year. There’s a difference when Chris Ivory ran the ball versus Bilal Powell; much like the difference between a Blake Griffin dunk and a Andrea Bargnani dunk, Ivory hits harder and his runs are the ones you remember when you’re in the locker room. The reason his grade isn’t higher is because he did battle injuries and was a liability in the passing game. However, he did pick it up in blitz protection (his block on Sio Moore was a highlight for the Jets season), and Marty trusted him more on passing downs.
3. Mike Goodson, INC
2013 Stats: 7 carries for 61 yards, 8.7 YPC, 2 receptions for 19 yards, 9.5 yards per reception
Best Game: Week 5 @ Atlanta, 3 carries for 32 yards and a 10.7 yard per carry average.
Worst Game: N/A
Analysis: Mike Goodson only played in two games this year, but in both games showed just how dynamic he could be with the ball in his hands. Goodson brought a home run ability out of the backfield that the Jets have lacked since Leon Washington. However, due to his legal issues causing him to miss the first four games of the season and then his injury forcing him to miss the remainder of the season this year may be remembered as a “what if” year. Goodson seems like a perfect fit in Marty’s offense, and with him, Ivory, and Powell healthy next year the Jets running attack should be that much better.
4. Tommy Bohanon, C
2013 Stats: 17 carries for 62 yards, 3.6 YPC, 11 receptions for 69 yards, 6.2 yards per reception
Best Game: Week 7 vs New England. Lead blocking for Ivory was superb all day, as well as his pass blocking.
Worst Game: Week 8 at Cincinatti. From one week to the next became a liability in both pass and run protection. Struggled to create holes for Ivory and Powell and to protect Geno.
Analysis: Bohanon, like alot of members of the Jets offense, had an inconsistent season as a pass blocker and run blocker. He had some solid games (NE and NO stand out), and some really bad games (CIN and TEN). He was a nice weapon in the passing game, as he could be counted upon to make something happen out of a checkdown play. However, the Jets may look to upgrade this position in the future.
Staying/Going?: (link to Donnelly’s article)
Team Grade for 2013: B
While 4.2 yards per carry is nothing to scoff at, there were too many games where the Jets running game was nowhere to be found. A running game is one of the more important things a young QB can lean on; in comparison to Mark Sanchez, for example, who had arguably the best running game in football coupled with arguably the best offensive line in football during his rookie season. Too often Geno Smith was asked to do everything on his own. The Jets were 3-4 when the running backs didn’t rush for over 100 yards, compared to 5-4 when they did. Also, the Jets running backs didn’t find the end zone. The 4 TDs scored by running backs is the fewest in the NFL, and the stats are only saved because Geno scored 6.
Ivory battled injuries but returned with a vengeance and there’s not a doubt in my mind he would’ve been a 1200 yard back had he been healthy. Powell had a solid year considering all that he was asked to do, and he should be brought back as insurance for Ivory. Goodson, if healthy and if his legal issues allow him to return, is the home run threat the Jets need on offense and will go a long way towards assisting Geno’s development. I would expect that this is one of two position groups (the defensive line being the other) that will not see much turnover, if any. Run BMC should return intact.
Happy New Year Jets fans! Make sure you stay with us at TOJ during the entire offseason.