There will be a Jets’ running game alive and well this season.
It’s late May, I know, and we can’t be thinking the Jets have another Curtis Martin ahead.
But there is plenty of reason for optimism.
Over the past 10 years, lead running backs Shonn Greene, Chris Ivory, Bilal Powell. Isaiah Crowell, Matt Forte, and Le’Veon Bell have been serviceable at best, having Ivory and Powell standing above the rest with some noteworthy contributions.
This season, the Jets will hang their hopes on second-year back Michael Carter and rookie Breece Hall to be one of more effective tandem that Jets have had in the backfield since Matt Snell and Emerson Boozer helped them to a Super Bowl title.
Carter burst onto the scene last year, and provided the Jets with a sense of stability they needed for a long time. In 14 games, Carter rushed for 639 yards and caught 36 passes for 255 yards.
Although he only broke the 100-yard mark once –188 in a 34-31 victory over the Bengals – Carter is viewed as a staple for the 2022 season. His 4.3 yards per carry are pedestrian, and his rushing total is the lowest since Leon Washington’s 650 in 2006 (Frank Gore had 653 in 2020).
Yet, Carter gives the Jets’ promise for a stud running back for a few years down the road. He’s shown the flash and GMJoe Douglas and head coach Robert Saleh are banking on him. If he says healthy, Carter has all the tools.
Getting his cornerback, wide receiver, adn edge rusher with his first three picks, Douglas drafted up to pluck running back Breeece Hall as the first running back taken and the 36th overall pick in the second round.
Like Carter, Hall looks like the real deal here.
The 6-1, 220-pound Iowa State standout was a two-time All-American and Big 12 offensive player of the year. He rushed for over 3,000 yards and 41 touchdowns over the past two seasons and also caught 82 passes with six touchdown receptions in his three-year college career.
Hall already was the talk of the team’s May workouts, and he and Carter give the Jets a two-headed, rushing and passing combination.
Behind the dynamic duo, Tevin Coleman and Ty Johnson are both veterans who have shown they can both carry the load the past two seasons. La’Mical Perine was presumed to be the answer at running back when he was the fourth-round pick of 2020, but he has been an enigma with injuries and personal issues. Perine easily can be a longshot to make the team.
The blossom of Carter and the anticipation of Hall along with Coleman and Johnson help take some of the pressure from second-year quarterback Zach Wilson, who finally began to show some signs late in the year last season that he can be the Jets’ answer at quarterback.
While Wilson appears to be the answer at quarterback, the Jets also apparently have solved their long standing issue at running back.