The 2013 season served as a great learning experience for the Jets. While they did not make the playoffs, the front office and coaching staff can take the results on the field, study them and improve the team for 2014 run to the Super Bowl.
One piece of the puzzle that may have been solved during the 8-8 season was the running back situation. During the offseason, the Jets let the bruiser, Shonn Greene, walk away to the Tennessee Titans. Greene had performed well the previous three seasons with the Jets, but the team did not believe he was going to break out into an elite back.
To replace Greene, the Jets signed former Panthers and Raiders running back Mike Goodson and traded a fourth-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft for the New Orleans Saints for another bruiser, Chris Ivory. Each of these players had shown potential with their former teams, and the Jets believed that they could flourish into a frightening two-headed monster in their system.
Unfortunately though, Goodson had to serve a four-game suspension to begin the year and suffered a season-ending knee injury after appearing in just two games. But fortunately, the second piece of the Jets’ desired two-headed monster was already on the roster.
After a great preseason, Bilal Powell emerged as the Jets’ starting running back. Powell had shown that he was a capable every-down back in limited work for the Jets in 2012 and embraced the opportunity to start in 2013. Powell finished the year three yards shy of 700 yards rushing, averaging 4.0 yards per carry with three rushes for more than 20 yards. By the end of the year, Powell had been supplanted as the starter by Chris Ivory, but his contributions as a number-two back were outstanding.
Powell had great production for the Jets, but John Idzik’s draft-day trade paid huge dividends. Not many fourth-round picks would have contributed to the Jets as much as Chris Ivory did in 2013. Ivory ended the year with 833 yards, a 4.6 yards-per-carry average, eight carries of more than 20 yards, and three touchdowns.
Separately, the Jets’ running back duo finished 19th and 27th, respectively, in the NFL in rushing yards. Combined, their yardage would rank second in the NFL only behind Shady McCoy. Overall the Jets finished sixth in the NFL in rushing, and found the most success in the win/loss column when they dominated on the ground.
Powell and Ivory will be a great combination moving into 2014 and the Jets will add back in Mike Goodson to strengthen their rushing attack. In his limited action, Goodson looked very impressive. He had three carries for 32 yards and one reception for nine yards before leaving with an injury against the Atlanta Falcons. He played again in Week 6 against Pittsburgh with four carries for 29 yards and one reception. His speed and big-play ability was obvious, which will give the Jets a three-headed monster at running back in 2014.
A Colorado native, Anthony has been a life long Jets fan. He has earned a B.S. in finance and an MBA in Sports Management from the University of Colorado. In addition to contributing to cover32 Jets, he also contributes to cover32 Chiefs. Follow him on Twitter at @StrugglingMBA.
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