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What's Bilal Powell's Take on the West Coast?

Posted Jul 17, 2017

Veteran Back Learning Concepts, Taking Professional Approach


Entering his seventh NFL season, Jets RB Bilal Powell will work under his fifth offensive coordinator this fall. While Powell says John Morton’s attack hasn’t been easy to learn, he has embraced the challenge and is looking forward to the opportunities ahead.

“I don’t think it’s ever fun learning the West Coast offense,” he said this spring. “It’s more complex than other offenses I’ve been in, but it puts us in the best positions. I’m having fun learning it and breaking it down to the younger guys. I’m going out watching guys believe in it and execute it.”

The Jets were the only team in the NFL last season to feature a running back combination that each registered 1,000 yards from scrimmage as Powell led the way with 1,110 and Matt Forté  added 1,076. Morton believes in the committee approach and has stressed the need to keep the backs fresh.

“You learn more things about concepts,” Powell said of Morton’s system. “There aren’t too many plays out there that will tell the running back exactly what to do.”

Powell established a franchise mark with 5.51 yards per carry in 2016 and his 58 receptions were a career high. The 5’10”, 204-pounder is a versatile threat who expects to move around quite a bit in 2017.


“He’s very smart,” he said of Morton. “His offense is going to put the running backs in a lot of different places and I think it just aligns us to do our thing.”

The Jets intend on picking up the pace offensively and Powell believes that strategy will be advantageous for a unit that hopes to keep opponents on their heels.

“I think with that type of tempo, you can catch defenses off balance, which allows us to get into what we want,” he said. “It doesn’t allow them to line up and make checks and calls. It allows us to get in position to win whether it’s man-to-man or making adjustments at the line of scrimmage. Then just line up and get the checks from the quarterbacks.”

Tied with DL Muhammad Wilkerson for the second most tenure on the Green & White, Powell’s professionalism will be critical for a team that has gotten a lot younger this offseason.

“Man, I don’t talk much, but I like to encourage the young guys and show them what a professional is supposed to look like,” he said. “I just come in, do my job and enjoy doing it. It’s not going to be forever. Knowing that seven years ago, that was me. I think a lot of the guys that came in can help us win.”