The calendar might say Jets running back Eli McGuire is a rookie, but his study habits are beyond his years.
"I think the biggest thing, and I think I've said this earlier, it's like he's a veteran already," offensive coordinator John Morton told reporters today. "He's being coached well and we're putting him in the right place to have success. The game's not too big for him, I think that's the biggest thing. His preparation is the key to his success so far."
Morton has employed a three-back committee approach with Matt Forte, who missed last week's game with turf toe, Bilal Powell and McGuire. The 2017 sixth-round pick has impressed in a small sample size and had his best game as a pro against the Jaguars last Sunday. McGuire rushed for 93 yards on 10 carries, including a 69-yard touchdown that gave the Jets a 17-10 lead in the third quarter. The Louisiana-Lafayette product also registered 38 yards through the air.
"Oh, you can cancel Christmas," he said after the game of his scoring run. McGuire later explained, "It was an outside zone and the offensive linemen did a great job of getting on their blocks and it made a crease for me. I saw the hole, I hit it, made one defender miss and I took it to the house."
"He approaches the game like a true professional," Powell said after Sunday's game. "You can't even tell that he's a rookie just by the way he approaches it. He's just so explosive, so smart and so coachable, and you saw that out there today."
However, it hasn't all been smooth sailing. Like any rookie, McGuire's made his share of mistakes. The 5'10", 214-pounder coughed up the rock in the fourth quarter in Week 3 against the Dolphins, but luckily the Jets were up 20-0 at the time.
"I look at guys' demeanor when things don't go right," Morton said. "Some guys would panic, but he doesn't do that. I think [RBs coach] Stump [Mitchell] does a really good job with him and some veteran running backs do a really good job with him. That's kind of how I get a feel about guys. If you get a guy that's real nervous, it's going to take some time. When he's gone in, he's accepted the opportunity."