The New York Jets have been fun to watch since HC Rex Ryan’s arrival in 2009. The Jets played in the AFC Championship game in Ryan’s first two seasons at the wheel but have failed to make the playoffs in the three years since. This is likely Ryan’s last year as a Jet if he can’t return the team to a playoff contender.
The revolving door at the RB position has been an ongoing issue for the Jets since Ryan’s entrance, and 2013 was no different. The Jets signed former New Orleans Saints RB Chris Ivory last offseason, and it appeared as if he was going to be their No. 1 guy. But this is the Jets we’re talking about, so of course something happened that changed what everyone thought they knew.
Instead of Ivory being the bell cow to start the season, the Jets seemed to favor Bilal Powell through their first six games. Powell’s production and touches dropped off in Week 7 as Ivory gained some steam and earned the majority of the touches. By season’s end Ivory had double-digit carries in nine of the Jets games, and Powell ended the year with eight games of 10 or more rushes.
Ivory ended the season with 182 carries for 833 yards and three TDs. Powell rushed the ball 176 times for 697 yards and scored one TD, but he also had 36 receptions for 272 yards. Both finished outside the top-30 RBs in PPR scoring.
Entering 2014, the Jets’ offensive plan won’t be much different than the scheme they used in 2013. They are a defensive minded team that likes to run the ball and control the clock. The Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith conversation has been replaced by Michael Vick or Smith for the starting QB job. It will be very surprising if Vick isn’t the starter on opening day.
The Jets have the 18th overall pick in May’s NFL Draft, and some expect the team to select a RB at some point in the draft. For now let’s pretend they don’t go RB early and introduce a guy with the potential to start Week 1 (although it is extremely plausible).
Going along with the assumption that Vick is the starter and a rookie RB isn’t in the mix, which of the two Jets RBs stands to gain the most success in 2014?
Powell is better-rounded than his counterpart, and he is more likely to be in the huddle on important third-down passing situations. He is also a better fit for an offense with Vick under center.
Ivory’s injury issues have been a problem in the past, limiting him to 24 games in his first three seasons. His 15 games played in 2013 was a career-high.
While neither of these RBs should be selected in the top 25 at the position, Powell should be drafted before Ivory in 2014 fantasy drafts. If the Jets imply a RB-by-committee system again this season, Powell still stands to be guy with the most to gain. His receptions and yards gained from those catches put him ahead of Ivory in all formats’ ranking sheets.