Jets running game remains a question mark

Bilal Powell may be more important than ever with the questions surrounding the backfield. Credit: Getty Images
Bilal Powell may be more important than ever with the questions surrounding the backfield.
Credit: Getty Images

Jets head coach Rex Ryan ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain three weeks ago in a stunt that made national headlines. On his team’s first day of training camp, Ryan may not be so bullish about the Jets running game.

Running back Mike Goodson, who was arrested in mid-May on drug and gun charges, was absent for the first day of training camp after missing check-in day on Thursday. Running back Chris Ivory sat out on Friday with a tight hamstring. Running back Joe McKnight failed his physical Thursday but was on the field Friday and on the active roster. A group of running backs that looked like a possible strength just a few weeks ago is not suddenly replete with question marks.

In the West Coast offense implemented by new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, the running backs will be called upon to be highly involved in the passing offense. For a running back like Bilal Powell, who excels as a pass catcher out of the backfield, it could be a good fit.

“This offense, I really like it, I like what coach Mornhinweg is doing right now. The running backs each have different areas that the defense will need to be on their toes for. There is a lot of things they will be ready for,” Powell said. “Coach is putting us in different places and he is doing a good job of putting us in the position to excel, [and] make the most of our abilities. That’s what’s exciting.”

The running game remains an uncertainty for the team heading into preseason, as they lack the big-name running back they’ve had in years past. Gone via free agency is Shonn Greene, who topped 1,000 rushing yards the past two seasons to lead the Jets’ ground game. In his place are unheralded players who have shown flashes of potential but have to prove it over a 16-game regular schedule.

But despite his rushing numbers, Greene wouldn’t have been a good fit in Mornhinweg’s system and even with Goodson a giant question mark, the running back stable is more balanced and deeper than in year’s past. Powell was very active in the backfield on Friday and Griffin looked impressive catching the ball on short routes and stretching the defense toward the sidelines.

For Powell, this new offense is exciting for his skillset but it remains yet another preseason of change. He has had a different offensive coordinator in his first three seasons in the NFL – all with the Jets. He also had three different offensive coordinators in his final three seasons at Louisville so he might just be hoping that the West Coast offense sticks around so he doesn’t have to learn any more schemes.

“I’ve been through six coordinators in the last six seasons of football. It’s not too big of a deal for me, I just want to get ready. I’m excited,” Powell said. “I just want the season to be started already.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer for live updates from training camp.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Bloomberg: Going green will grant you longer life…

Former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg tells Metro that cities are where fighting global warming can make a difference, and increase people’s lifespan.

International

Ban Ki Moon: "Climate change is an issue…

My message to you is: make your voice heard and your actions count. Change is in the air. Solutions exist. The race is on. It’s time to lead.

Local

Earth Day New York food toolkits to help…

Hundreds of classrooms across New York City already have indoor container gardens that allow students to grow food right where they learn. But Earth Day…

Local

NYPD announces street closures for United Nations General…

The United Nations representatives are in town, and multiple city streets will be closed to traffic through Saturday, Sept. 26. The NYPD is urging those…

Television

10 Facts you won’t learn about Frankie Grande…

Frankie Grande is the worst and/or the best. Whether or not you're a fan, you'll want to know these facts about the polarizing player from "Big Brother 16."

Movies

Antoine Fuqua can kill someone with just a…

It's amazing what you can get done with the right tools. In designing the climactic battle in "the Equalizer," in which Denzel Washington's retired special…

Movies

Guess Ben Kingsley's worst filmmaking experience

Here's a fun game: Sir Ben Kingsley has made a lot of films since "Gandhi" in 1982, but at least one of them was a…

Books

Does Lena Dunham have any secrets left?

Get a sneak peek at her new book to determine if it’s worth the read.

NFL

3 things that went wrong in Jets loss…

The Jets have very little room for error with a far-from-explosive offense.

NFL

Eli Manning finally feeling good in West Coast…

The Giants have very little time before their next game, but they still took a moment to relish the team’s biggest offensive outburst since Week 1 of 2013.

College

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close…

College football top 25 poll: Oregon, Alabama close in on FSU

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

Wellbeing

Exercising leads to more drinking — and we…

  We’re rewarding ourselves with more than dessert on days we exercise, according to a new study. On days when people exercise more, typically Thursday…

Wellbeing

5 gadgets to protect you from sharks, concussions,…

The medical industry is inundated with devices looking after all aspects of your wellbeing, from monitoring your sleep patterns to warding off shark attacks. We…

Wellbeing

Narcissism and the ugly side of vanity

I have a friend who constantly talks about herself and rarely asks any questions about my life. She is constantly preening, obsessed with her body,…

Wellbeing

Lacking new ideas, Apple Watch disappoints health experts

Technology pundits were quick to predict the demise of most fitness wristbands and smartwatches when the Apple Watch was announced. But health care professionals and…