The Jets promised to play the “hot hand” at running back this season with their three-headed backfield of Chris Johnson, Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. So far, though, they look like they’re sticking to a democracy.
Johnson had 27 snaps and Ivory 26 in Monday’s loss to the Bears, despite Ivory clearly running better than Johnson. Coach Rex Ryan did not rule out giving Ivory more playing time in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.
“Maybe Chris Ivory will get more time,” Ryan said. “He’s certainly running hard. He’s doing a great job out of the backfield. There’s not a whole lot of guys that want to tackle him. He’s done a great job.”
Ivory had 10 carries for 44 yards and four catches for 52 yards in Monday’s game. He ran over Bears’ defenders all night, yet found himself on the bench in the fourth quarter when the game was on the line. The Jets keep giving the ball to Johnson despite limited production. Johnson has 123 rushing yards on 35 carries in three games. It was Powell who got work in the fourth quarter, though but it's Ivory who has been the most productive of all the Jet backs.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014, 9:43am
Let's call it like it is: After three games, Chris Ivory looks a lot better than Johnson, who was held to 34 yards on 10 carries by a suspect Chicago run defense.
Johnson, a former 2,000-yard runner, hasn't demonstrated any of the explosiveness that once made him the most feared back in the sport. It's a new system, and he's coming off knee surgery, so it's too soon to panic. But his average after three games (3.5 per carry) is 2 yards less than Ivory.
The two have essentially split carries and while Ivory has looked better, he's also produced more. The Jets have some tough matchups coming up and Johnson is no longer looking like an attractive lineup option.
Bears Injury Report
C Roberto Garza (ankle), LB Shea McClellin (hand), CB Sherrick McManis (quadricep), DT Jay Ratliff (concussion), G Matt Slauson (ankle)
DE Trevor Scott (foot)
DE Jared Allen (back), S Chris Conte (shoulder), WR Josh Morgan (groin)
Jets Injury Report
CB Dee Milliner (ankle)
WR Eric Decker (hamstring)
LB Nick Bellore (hip), S Josh Bush (quadricep), G Willie Colon (calf), LB Quinton Coples (elbow), LB A.J. Edds (hamstring), RB Chris Johnson (ankle), C Nick Mangold (shoulder)
We're expecting Marshall and Jeffery to play since they played last week and were at least limited on Saturday. Decker was also limited on Saturday, and is expected (per HC Rex Ryan) to play. Consider him at high risk to reaggravate the injury, though he has a great matchup against a shaky Bears defense.
Friday, September 19, 2014, 7:09pm
Jets RB Chris Johnson (ankle) took limited practice reps again Friday. Johnson should be fine for a nice matchup with the Bears defense that has trouble stopping the run.
Thursday, September 18, 2014, 6:30pm
Jets RB Chris Johnson (ankle) took limited practice reps Thursday. Johnson is probably just getting some veteran’s rest. He didn’t play well in Week 2, but the Bears defense can be forgiving in the rushing game.
Monday, September 15, 2014, 8:57am
Johnson suffered one of the worst statistical games of his career, managing only 21 yards on 12 carries. He got the ball in a variety of positions, including a jet sweep, but he couldn't get to the second level. He looked a half-step slow hitting the hole.
Johnson and Ivory essentially split carries but Ivory rushed for 43 yards on 13 carries and did have another touchdown. We knew Ivory would get in-close touches but if he continues to take advantage the Jets could increase his workload.
"At the end of the day, they wouldn't have brought me in here if I wasn't going to have a big role, if I wasn't going to be a big part of this offense," Johnson said Wednesday. "That's something I'm not worried about. I'm not worried about my role and how it's going to play out. As a free agent, they could've chosen a lot of different guys. They already had some guys in here that had some success. They weren't going to bring me in here for no reason."
The feeling around the team is that Johnson, a former 2,ooo-yard rusher, will get the bulk of the carries, followed by Ivory and Powell.
In six seasons with the Titans, Johnson averaged 18 carries per game. He probably won't reach that number, especially since he's coming off knee surgery. Running backs coach Anthony Lynn subscribes to the "hot hand" philosophy.
As the article notes, RB coach Anthony Lynn uses a "hot hand" approach. There are those who believe that Johnson is washed up, but he showed burst in the preseason and impressed beat writer Manish Mehta in camp.
It did not come as a surprise, as Smith has been the expected starter all offseason, but Ryan had refused to say Smith would be the starter — and Michael Vick the backup — until Friday night.
OC Marty Mornhinweg lauded Smith's play in the final four games of the season. He did average 20.0 fantasy points during that span, compared with just 10.0 FP in the first 12 games. He ran for three TDs down the stretch while throwing for just 198 yards and 1.0 TD. He has some upside now that the team added Eric Decker, Jace Amaro in the passing game and Chris Johnson at running back.
On Friday, the Jets’ running backs again looked good. Chris Johnson carried nine times for 42 yards. Chris Ivory carried six times for 50 yards. Bilal Powell carried twice for 6 yards. Johnson and Ivory were also involved in the passing game. Johnson had two catches for 35 yards, with a long of 19. Ivory’s only catch was a quick screen that he turned into a 23-yard gain. The Jets want to have an element in their offense that involves backs catching passes, and Friday was an encouraging development in that regard.
Johnson looked good doing it on the ground and through the air against the G-Men.
Jets HC Rex Ryan said this week that he doesn’t think “one guy is just going to carry the load,” but it’ll be tempting to leave the former NFL rushing champion (Chris Johnson) on the sideline if he gets into a rhythm.
There is a lot of hand-wringing about Johnson's workload in New York, but we believe he will get enough work to be a serviceable RB2. Considering he's the 26th RB off the board in the 5th/6th round, he offers good value at that point in the draft. He has six consecutive top 12 finishes in PPR formats and plays alongside one of the most injury-prone backs in the league (Chris Ivory).
The fourth-year veteran, who turned 26 on Thursday, has looked polished and decisive since the start of training camp. And while rookie Terrance West will get some carries, the starter's job belongs to Tate as the Browns prepare for their dress-rehearsal game against St. Louis at FirstEnergy Stadium on Saturday night.
Tate spent the last four seasons with the Houston Texans, which employed a similar wide-zone blocking scheme requiring backs to make one cut and turn upfield.
The question with Tate, who's averaged a career 4.7 yards per carry, is his durability. He played in just 40 of 64 regular-season games since the Texans drafted him in 2010.
Tate wants to be a feature back and he'll have his chance in Cleveland. Tate has averaged 4.7 YPC in his career and has touched the ball at least 15 times in 13 career games, averaging 94.5 yards and 0.54 TD in the process. That equates to 12.7 fantasy points, which is about what Chris Johnson averaged as the #9 RB in 2013. Touchdowns are going to be tougher to come by in Cleveland than they were in Houston, and rookie Terrance West is in the mix. Keep in mind that in addition to missing the entire 2010 season due to a broken ankle, he has missed eight other games in his career. Durability is a big concern.
“Oh yeah, he still has it,’’ linebacker David Harris said. “We noticed it the first day when we were in Cortland. He’s still the fastest guy on the field. He’s still got a lot of juice in those legs.’’
Harris said he has not forgotten the 94-yard touchdown run Johnson had against the Jets in December 2012.
“It killed us,’’ he recalled.
Defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson was not yet a Jet in 2012, so he didn’t get the chance to see that run up close, but he knows what he’s seen out of Johnson this summer.
“Oh, he’s got his burst,’’ Richardson said. “If he gets behind the defense he’s not getting caught from behind by anybody in the league. He’s 28. It’s not like the man’s 38 and still playing running back. I have yet to see the miles on him.’’
Johnson figures to be the Jets’ RB1, though Chris Ivory will serve in a change-of-pace capacity. As long as he sees the bulk of the touches in the Jets’ run-heavy offense, Johnson should post fantasy RB2 numbers. He has finished in the top 12 in each of his six seasons, so a top 24 finish (RB2-type numbers) is not a stretch, even with a new team.
If Jets HC Rex Ryan wants to return to the ground and pound, he might just have the backfield to do it. The Jets’ running game emerged in Saturday night’s 25-17 preseason win over the Bengals, and one of the team’s newest weapons shined in the spotlight. Chris Johnson ran for 63 yards on 10 carries in the win.
The Jets displayed the versatility with Johnson that they had shown in training camp, lining him up behind Geno Smith in the pistol formation and out wide as a receiver, and turned it into a successful ground attack.
“We know they have a good football team over there and they pounded us on both sides of the ball last time,” Ryan said, referring to the Bengals’ 49-9 win over the Jets last season. “It wasn’t the case this time, our offense ran it all over them.”
Ryan cited the team’s 124 yards rushing in the first half, averaging 6.9 yards per carry. It wasn’t only Johnson that had success carrying the rock: Bilal Powell ran four times for 41 yards, including a touchdown. The bulk of Powell’s production came on a 32-yard run in the second quarter. Johnson should get a bulk of the carries with Powell getting mixed in as well. Injured Chris Ivory could also be a factor and is shaping up to be the goal line and short yardage back. All will cut into Johnson's value but he still has value in the middle rounds of drafts.
Sunday, August 17, 2014, 4:43pm
On another play, he lined up wide and got the ball on an end around. Johnson finished with 63 yards on 10 carries, much of his production coming out of the pistol formation. This was a big step in the right direction for Johnson and the entire running game, which amassed 169 yards.
Chris Ivory is one of the players expected to be part of that stable stable of running backs the Jets will use this season and he suffered an injury in the preseason opener against the Colts on Thursday night.
Ivory injured his ribs late in the second quarter of the game and did not return. Ivory wasn’t necessarily going to play any more at that point in the game, but the injury would still have an impact if it limited Ivory’s availability in the coming days. Coach Rex Ryan wasn’t overly concerned about that possibility.
“Ivory should be fine,” Ryan said, via NJ.com.
With Chris Johnson expected to get a bulk of the carries, Ivory was taking reps as the goal line back in camp. He came over in a trade from the Saints last season and had trouble getting on the field because of injuries, but showed glimpses at times. Right now, it looks like a three-headed monster running attack for the Jets, with Bilal Powell also in the mix.