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Bilal Powell & Friends Ready to Man Ground Game

Posted Sep 27, 2013

With a hamstring injury keeping RB Chris Ivory on the sidelines for Sunday’s game at Tennessee, Bilal Powell and Co. will have to carry the workload.

Prior to last week’s win over Buffalo, Powell had never had more than 19 carries in a game, but No. 29 was forced into extended duty when Ivory left the game in the first quarter, and he ended up with a career-high 27 rushes.

“I was a little sore,” Powell said this week, but the extra carries must not have beaten him up too badly. His per rush average went from 4.0 yards on 10 first-half carries to 6.4 yards on 17 second-half runs.

Still, at 5’10”, 204, it’s probably not the smartest idea to turn him into a 30-carries-per-game kind of guy, which is why another third-year back, Alex Green, will come off the bench in relief.

The Jets acquired Green off of waivers from the Green Bay Packers following final cuts. Although he’s been active for all three games this year, he hadn’t played an offensive snap until last week when he carried the ball five times for 14 yards.

“I got in with the O-line for the first time in game action so it felt good to mesh with them a little bit and get the feel for how they play in game situations,” he said. “Moving forward I think we’ll mesh more and continue to get better.”

Both Powell and Green talked about their key to success in running the ball: finding a hole and hitting it without hesitation.

“In this league, those holes close fast,” Green said, “so you have to get there when you can.”

With RB Mike Goodson serving the final game of his four-game suspension and newly acquired Kareem Huggins on the practice squad, Powell and Green will be the only two halfbacks active on Sunday. But as head coach Rex Ryan pointed out, rookie FB Tommy Bohanon can play tailback if need be. In that instance, TE Konrad Reuland would move to fullback.

Both Bohanon and Reuland say they’re ready to take the field in whatever capacity will help the team win.

“I’ve had games where I’ve gotten plenty of carries in college,” Bohanon said, “and I’ve had a few carries here in the NFL so I’m definitely comfortable in doing that.” Playing tailback instead of fullback, he added, is really no different because whether you have the ball in your hands or not, you’re making the same reads.

Reuland filled in at fullback last year after John Conner got hurt and before the Jets signed Lex Hilliard. When Hilliard injured his shoulder during this year’s preseason, Konrad approached the coaches and told them, “You’ve seen me do it before, and I don’t mind doing it again.”

As long as he’s able to take the field, he doesn’t care what position he’s playing.

Fullback’s a very instinctual position, he said. “I like the fact that things kind of happen on the fly and you get to run downhill and hit somebody.”

In a game that features the AFC’s two leading rushers in Chris Johnson for the Titans and Powell for us, expect to see some “ground-and-pound” offense. And with Ivory out, Powell, Green, Bohanon and Reuland are all ready for anything.

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