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Jets Future Looks Bright at RB

Posted May 6, 2013

On Tuesday, we will publish our next Q&A.  If you have questions, feel free to write in here or drop me a note on Twitter: @eallenjets.

Quietly, the Jets have assembled a talented, explosive group of running backs.  The addition of Mike Goodson in free agency and the acquisition of Chris Ivory on draft weekend added depth, competition and versatility to Anthony Lynn’s group. 

The 6’0”, 222-pound Ivory came to the Jets from the New Orleans Saints in exchange for a fourth-round pick.  Just 25, Ivory has averaged 5.1 yards a carry on his 256 rush attempts.  Last season, the Jets ranked tied for 23rd in football with a per carry average of 3.8 yards.

“I would say I like to get vertical,” Ivory told me on our most recent “Jets Talk LIVE” installment.  “Not too may cuts — just one or two moves and (I) want to get straight up the field,” Ivory said.  “I’m real physical and that’s something I think I can bring to the game is my physicality.”

Ivory replaces Shonn Greene as the club's true power back.  Greene, who led the Green & White with 1,063 yards in 2012 before signing a free agent deal with the Tennessee Titans, averaged 3.9 yards a clip last season. 

Ivory, a Tiffin University product who amassed 716 yards and five TDs on the ground as a rookie in 2010, could experience a career breakthrough with the Jets.

“It could be as long as I get out there and do all the things that I know I can do, and as long as I’m given the opportunities to carry the ball 10-plus carries a game,” he said.  “I believe in myself and I believe I can make some great things happen.”

In March, Goodson inked a deal with the Jets after a visit to the Bengals.  Goodson has 4.4 speed and can electrify in space.  In 12 games last season with the Raiders, Goodson averaged 6.3 yards per carry and 12.2 yards a reception.  He also caught 40 passes with the Carolina Panthers in 2010 and will create mismatches out in the open field.

“I kind of think of that as a big asset to my game, catching the ball out of the backfield and running routes on linebackers,” he told me.  “I’m excited to do that in this offense too.”

In Marty Mornhinweg’s West Coast attack, the Jets will get more use out of their RBs in the passing game.  Greene paced the Jets runners with 19 receptions last season while Bilal Powell pitched in with 17 catches.

“I like to make big plays.  I like to make the crowd move,” Goodson said.  “Find open space and when it comes that time — you have to lay into some guys sometimes.”

The Jets did a nice job of addressing their offensive line on draft weekend.  A month after signing Willie Colon in free agency, the team announced the signing of veteran G Stephen Peterman.  They were also thrilled to get Kent State mauler Brian Winters in the third round before selecting Virginia OL Oday Aboushi (D5, No. 141 overall) and Michigan G Will Campbell (D6, No. 178 overall) on Day Three.  Those players will compete to battle with the likes of C Nick Mangold, LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson and RT Austin Howard, and ultimately create holes for the backs.

“They do a mix.  It’s zone scheme, power,” Goodson said of the blocking up front.  “They do a lot of mix of trying to run the ball, trying to get guys into space.  That’s what I like about it, get 1-on-1 matchups and let your players make plays.”

Eager to help in any way that he can, Goodson has set his goals high.

“I think every year you have to come up with something and my goal this year is to make it to the Pro Bowl however that may be — special teams,” he said.  “That’s what I want to do.”

Ivory knows Jets Nation has high expectations and doesn’t intend on letting anyone down.

“I understand you guys hold people accountable,” he said with a smile.  “And I’m definitely going to hold myself accountable.  I want to give the fans something great to watch when they come out every Sunday and I am looking forward to having a great season.”

In addition to Ivory and Goodson, the Jets have a multi-purpose back in Powell who displayed signifcant progress in Year 2 and another explosive option in Joe McKnightLex Hilliard and newcomer Tommy Bohanon, a seventh-round pick from Wake Forest, are also in the mix at fullback.

“Our chemistry is building, pretty cool guys.  I think we’ll have a great backfield coming this year,” Ivory said.

“I’m excited about it,” Goodson said.  “I actually got on the internet and looked over at some of the stuff he’s (Mornhinweg has) been doing with other teams and it’s big plays and explosiveness.”

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