The Jets have struggled to find consistency in their running game this season. They ran the ball like gangbusters against Jacksonville, so-so against Miami and Oakland, and not all that well against Buffalo, Cleveland and New England.
But offensive coordinator John Morton didn't hesitate when asked today if he has concerns about the Green & White ground game.
"No, I'm not concerned at all," Morton said. "I think the biggest thing where we fail is executing the play properly. All it takes is one guy."
Maybe all it takes to make things fall into place again is one guy. Bilal Powell, who missed a game and a half with a calf strain, went from not practicing Wednesday to full-go today. Head coach Todd Bowles said Powell will be ready for the Dolphins. And Matt Forte said that's a good thing.
Top Snapshots on a Sun-Splashed Day at 1 Jets Drive
"That does a lot," said Forté, who returned to action himself vs. the Patriots after missing two games with a turf toe. "You just see what Bilal can do, as well in the passing game but in the running game. He has a little different style of running but has great vision and explosiveness. He adds another threat to our running game."
But Bowles and Morton aren't leaving it up to just Powell. "We made a big emphasis this week" on the run game, said the OC.
Will the emphasis make a difference against the Dolphins? In Game 3 the Jets ran for 103 yards at 3.0 yards/carry in the 20-6 win over Miami. On Sunday the Dolphins will have three pieces to their front-seven puzzle that they didn't have then in LBs Lawrence Timmons and Rey Maualuga and DT Jordan Phillips.
Further, the Jets' worst games have come against top-10 run defenses: 38 yards vs. the No. 7 Bills, 34 vs. the No. 6 Browns. The Dolphins are fourth in the league in rush yards/game and sixth in yards/carry allowed. The Jets are 18th in yards/game and 12th in yards/carry, but that per-carry average, remember, was inflated by Powell's 75-yard burst and Elijah McGuire's 69-yard dash against the Jaguars.
"It's going to be tough. Especially at their place, it's going to be tough," Bowles said. "They play the run very well and they play it with a seven- or eight-man box, so either way we're just going to have to grind it out and hope we can break something late."
Forté said the key to success is execution at all positions, up front as well as in the backfield. And "the Work Horse" boiled down the job ahead of running up the Dolphins' steep hill at Hard Rock Stadium to a simple observation.
"The challenge is always there each week," he said, "and we've got to step up to it."