The New York Jets running backs, like the rest of the team, turned in a pretty dismal performance on Sunday against the Chargers. There was plenty of blame to go around, as the offensive line repeatedly got beat off their blocks, the running backs weren’t utilized correctly, and they didn’t make the most of their opportunities when they were used correctly. Let’s get to the numbers, and then we’ll focus on the analysis.
Total Touches: 19
Total Yards: 72
Another strong day for Chris Ivory, as he averaged 4.9 yards per carry against an underrated Chargers front seven. Through 5 games, he’s had 4 games with at least a 4.4 yards per carry average and he has 1 fumble in 66 touches. I’ve been really impressed with his ball security this year, as this was a knock on him coming from New Orleans. Another thing that I’ve been impressed with this year is Ivory’s ability as a receiver. We’ve called him “stone hands” in the past, and Chris Johnson was brought in because he has been a more reliable pass catching option out of the backfield, but Ivory’s been a better receiver out of the backfield than Johnson.
He’s really just been an overall better player, probably because he is the better running back at this point in their careers and should be getting most of the carries. Chris Johnson continued his inconsistency this season with a lackluster performance following a pretty good performance. Johnson’s had two games with a yards per carry average above 4 and three games with a yards per carry below 4. He’s had two multiple reception games and three with one or 0 receptions. By this trend, he’s due for a big game against Denver, but it’s up to Marty to put him in a position to succeed.
You have three running backs that are all averaging at least 4 yards a carry. Your young QB is struggling right now. The best way to help him is to lean on the running game, with Ivory up the middle and receiving a bulk of the carries, Johnson on Jet sweeps and in the screen game and the forgotten man Bilal Powell as Ivory’s primary backup. Powell is averaging 4.3 yards per carry, but just hasn’t gotten enough touches and that trend continued in San Diego. After the Jets got their first INT of the season, Johnson promptly fumbled the ball away on a play that should’ve gone for Ivory anyway.
Powell has to be utilized. Marty did a great job last year utilizing Mike Goodson, Ivory, and Powell when he had the opportunity for a brief period. He’s over-complicating things by not using the weapons he does have. In order to limit the chances Peyton Manning and the best offense in football have to score, you’re going to need to stick with the run…and it starts with Chris Ivory. Also, the Chargers blitzed alot this past game and Marty didn’t call any screens to mitigate that blitz. Johnson’s one catch netted a magnificent minus two yards. In order to neutralize DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller, Marty’s going to have to use his backs differently so Geno has time.