By MICHAEL FAIRLIE //
Maybe Jets’ fans can calm down a bit now as the team has improved their backfield with the addition of Matt Forte and the re-signing of Bilal Powell. Or maybe they can start jumping for joy.
Anyone with an actual pulse was aware that GM Mike Maccagnan and the Jets were going to have to take a creative approach to the offseason and that it is going to take time before we see what the team will ultimately look like in 2016. Rome was not built in a day and neither will be the 2016 New York Jets. But at least they have started the process.
With yesterday’s signing of Forte and today’s re-signing of Powell, the Jets now have a solid duo of running backs that fit perfectly into Chan Gailey’s offensive system. Gailey prefers running backs that are not only good at running the ball but are also a legitimate threat in the passing game, and now he has two of them. Powell and Forte are also both exceptional in pass protection.
With 47 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns in just 11 games last season, Powell has proven that he can be a nightmare to cover out of the backfield. He also had 70 carries for 313 yards and a TD, averaging 4.5 yards per carry.
Despite missing five games due to ankle injuries in 2015 and being used most often in a third-down role, Powell posted career highs in receptions and yards receiving. He also played a major role in the Jet’s five-game winning streak towards the end of the season.
Powell’s presence was clearly missed when he was forced out of the team’s Week 17 matchup with the Bills after re-injuring his ankle. Other than Chris Ivory’s 58-yard run, the team could not get anything going on the ground.
When you add on Matt Forte’s 898 yards on 218 carries (4.1 avg) and four touchdowns as well as his 44 catches for 389 yards and another three TD’s, and you add in the fact that both did not have a complete season, things are looking mighty good for the Jets’ running back situation in 2016.
It was just reported that the Jets have also added former New Orleans Saints’ running back Khiry Robinson to their burgeoning backfield. The 6’0 220-pound Robinson adds a power element to the mix that they lost with the departure of another former Saint, Chris Ivory.
After signing with the Saints in 2013 as an undrafted free agent out of West Texas A&M, Robinson has gone on to accumulate 766 yards on 186 carries and 8 TD’s in limited duty over his three years with New Orleans. He also added 25 catches for 178 yards.
In other recent free agency news regarding the Jets, the team has decided to bring back TE Zach Sudfeld and WR Kenbrell Thompkins for the 2016 season. They have also decided to let punter Ryan Quigley test the market. A good decision indeed.