There won’t be any John Riggins, Curtis Martin, or even a Thomas Jones.
This season’s Jets’ running back corral will be more of revolving standout back by committee until possibly one of them breaks away from the pack.
The one certain factor is that the Jets need more production from the position.
Veteran Frank Gore rambled for 653 yards last season, but it became evident that it would be his final year with Gang Green.
Rookie La’Mical Perine, who was thought to be the Jets’ next workhorse, couldn’t shake injuries and never fully reached his potential. Perine managed 232 yards in 10 games.
Free agent Ty Johnson got his shot to prove himself through the sludge of last year, and he showed plenty of flashes in his 254 yards of production. It will now up to Johnson to see what he can do as an encore.
Josh Adams also took advantage of the second half of the season, and he showed his ware with 157 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He bounced on and off the waiver wire the past two years, and apparently has found a home.
Head coach Robert Saleh brought over ex-49er Tevin Coleman, who missed most of 2020 with injuries, and later added Austin Walker, another 49er who was waived, and drafted touted North Carolina running back Michael Carter.
However, this shouldn’t be a total surprise.
Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur have stated they will implore a multi-look, running back option in their offense. It has been a 40ers staple the past few years.
Now Saleh and LaFleur will look to utilize the core to their potential in the new-look Jets’ offense. Production from the running back position can take some pressure off rookie quarterback Zach Wilson.
“I do think when you come a them in waves, it’s a lot harder on a defense,” said Saleh recently. “You never want to force the issue. You want to share the load and give those guys more of a chance to have longevity in their careers because feeding them the ball that much can also be a negative.”
Hmm.. it will be interesting..
There is depth that the Jets have desperately needed over the past few years, but is there enough quality?
Perine will need to stay healthy, and Johnson and Adams need to take the next step.
The 28-year-old Coleman has had some breakout years with the 49ers and Falcons, and he can be a 100-carry-plus back. He has played in his share of big games including the Super Bowl.
The Jets are high on Carter, and they will give him a legitimate shot.
Running back certainly will be a spotlight issue in training camp.
Yes, there won’t be a Riggins, Martin, or Jones.
But the Jets have the potential to secure group production from a position that has hurt them the past few years.