From now through training camp, Metro will roll out a regular series of the most influential players on the New York Jets roster.
At No. 10 on the list is Josh McCown. Next up is another piece to the offense, one that came in this offseason perhaps under the radar but could be very important for the team’s success this year.
9. Isaiah Crowell – Top 10 New York Jets
The addition of Crowell is potentially big for a Jets rushing offense that was decidedly average a year ago, No. 19 in the league averaging 106.4 yards per game. He brings the ability to break plays (although he isn’t a home run hitter) and rattle off some decent runs but is also solid between the tackles.
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The knock on Crowell is that he’s not a bell cow as former Jets head coach Rex Ryan would say, meaning that Crowell isn’t an every-down running back who can carry the full load. But even though he is somewhat shifty and elusive, he’s still good with ball security and he had just one fumble in 2017 with the Cleveland Browns.
He signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Jets this past offseason as a free agent.
Partnering with Bilal Powell in the backfield, as steady of a running back as there is in the NFL, the Jets should have good balance this year. Expect them to run the ball more, something which could set up Powell more for play-action. Crowell is decent catching the ball out of the backfield as well.
Last year with the Browns, Crowell had 853 rushing yards with two rushing touchdowns. He averaged 4.1 yards per carry (the Jets last year averaged 4.0 yards per carry as a team).
Crowell has a solid build and decent speed. He isn’t going to rattle off long runs but he’ll be solid and reliable. For an offense built on ball control and churning up the clock, he’s a really nice fit.
There is a lot to like here about this free agent and his potential with the Jets.
If Crowell is able to put up similar numbers with the Jets this year, then the offense should be balanced and dependable. The Jets offensive line, while still a work in progress, is on par with Cleveland’s. He can potentially put up some bigger and better numbers here because the offense and quarterback situation with the Jets is potentially better than his old team.
There is plenty of reason to believe that behind this line, Crowell can put up numbers such as in 2016 when he averaged 4.8 yards per carry with a career-high 952 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.
As the Jets transition under center with Sam Darnold likely the starter by season’s end, players like Crowell (and Powell) will be able to ease the burden potentially faced by the rookie quarterback. This move didn’t get a whole lot of offseason buzz but the signing of Powell could be a big one for the Jets.