The New York Jets‘ running back situation looks incredibly shaky going into 2013. After the release of Shonn Greene, the Jets’ backfield is now entirely up for grabs. They’ll need to rely heavily on the running game to compensate for a passing game that ranked 30th in the league in 2012. While the running back situation may look bleak for now, the Jets may have a promising young talent to take the job by storm.
Chris Ivory has been overlooked throughout his entire career. In his three seasons with the New Orleans Saints, he racked up only 256 rushing attempts total. Yet he averaged 5.1 yards per carry and proved to be capable of gashing defenses for big runs, ripping off six attempts for 25 yards or more in limited playing time. Ivory is a physical back who’s waited patiently for his opportunity to start in the NFL, and the Jets should now provide him with it. Compared to his previously small role in a great offense, Ivory is now the best fit to take on a large role in an offense that may come to depend upon him.
The other options at running back for the Jets can’t be relied upon in a starting role. Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell have been generally ineffective in the early stages of their respective careers, and they both lack the physicality to be every-down backs. Mike Goodson is a big injury risk and his future remains unclear in the midst of recent legal trouble. Ivory, who’s seen as a quicker and more explosive version of Greene, possesses all of the characteristics necessary to take the starting job by the end of training camp.
If the Jets are going to improve on the offensive side of the ball in 2013, they’re going to need an efficient run game. Marty Mornhinweg‘s West Coast system will allow Ivory to get the ball in open space and make big plays. If he can stay healthy, the Jets have every reason to believe that Ivory can be a 1,000-yard rusher and a staple of their offense. Though losing Greene seemed like a big blow to the offense, the Jets could end up better than expected with Ivory in the backfield.
Jesse Schwartz is an NFL New York Jets Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.