Mandatory minicamp started up for the New York Jets on Tuesday, and head coach Rex Ryan will tell you himself that it wasn’t pretty. As if penalties and dropped balls weren’t bad enough, the Jets have since had their share of running back problems.
RB Mike Goodson went AWOL sometime after the start of offseason programs, and the team hasn’t gotten word from him since. Having missed mandatory minicamp, the Jets’ “left squad” released Goodson, cutting their ties with the troubled, yet very talented player who is eight months removed from knee surgery. Goodson had his share of red flags as he skipped training camp last year and then chased that with a four-game suspension after violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
Goodson is just one of several RB problems the Jets are experiencing during minicamp thus far. Chris Ivory rolled an ankle on day two of minicamp and wasn’t able to finish practice. He won’t be finishing up minicamp, but per Ryan, the injury isn’t severe. There’s optimism about Ivory being ready to go to Cortland, N.Y. by the July 23 training camp kickoff.
On a more positive note, RB Chris Johnson made a semi-debut on day two of minicamp after sitting out for three weeks of OTAs. Five months removed from knee surgery, this was Johnson’s first time on the field since last season’s concluding play with the Tennessee Titans when he blew out his knee. The Jets’ coaching staff expect big things out of this veteran player but plan to bring him along slowly as they have him doing individual drills right now. Johnson will likely have a modified practice regimen during training camp as he makes his way back to being back to 100-percent.
Another RB not participating in team drills due to a toe injury is Daryl Richardson, who was waived by the St. Louis Rams. When healthy, Richardson’s 24 games played give him the experience and ability to compete for the No. 3 tailback position. He’s proven that he has potential to be a reliable alternate, averaging 4.1 yards-per-carry throughout his career.
Thank goodness for Bilal Powell, who is healthy as ever. Powell has been splitting a majority of the reps with former Green Bay Packers player Alex Green throughout minicamp. As of now, it looks as though Powell, Green and Richardson (when he’s healthy) will be fighting for touches behind Johnson and Ivory going forward. As for the sixth RB on the roster, Chad Young has an interesting opportunity to prove his rookie self in the midst of unstable times in the offensive backfield.
As minicamp concludes and training camp quickly approaches, these six RBs have everything to prove. When others are injured, it gives underdogs a chance to shine. This roster will be cut down to 75 before they know it, so now is the time to ball. Here’s to hoping for no player gets run down due to too many reps as well as no more injuries occurring.
An AWOL situation was bizarre enough as far as preseason drama goes; but we are talking about the Jets, so who knows what’s to come.