The 2020 season saw Frank Gore take the number 1 spot at Running Back for the New York Jets. Frank Gore is 38 years old. Obviously, he is a Hall of Famer, but not at this point in his career. The Jets need to find someone else to come in and fill that spot for them, and they are hoping fourth round draft pick Michael Carter can be that guy. There area couple of other guys on the roster who he will compete with for that spot, and the New York Jets 2021 Position Group Preview Series #2: Running Backs will look at just those guys.
Will There Be A Starter?
Early indications are that there will be a committee system, and this may be the best way to go to start the season. With no running back on the roster able to separate themselves from the pack last season, training camp will likely tell the same story. Frank Gore is no longer on the roster, and that leaves offseason addition Tevin Coleman in the starting spot on the depth chart. Tevin Coleman had some decent success with the Atlanta Falcons and San Fransisco 49ers, sharing backfields with Devonta Freeman and Raheem Mostert. Behind him is fourth round draft pick Carter, who the Jets hope will develop into an every down back. He should play well in the new offense that Mike LaFleur is bringing with him, one that should put his one-cut style to good use.
Who Else Played Last Year?
Last year, Jets fans may have seen a slew of guys playing running back, and some of them played pretty well. La’Mical Perine had some flashes of good play, showing his skill as a threat out of the backfield. Ty Johnson looked really good against the Las Vegas Raiders, running for over 100 yards and a touchdown. Against the Los Angeles Rams, he had 55 total yards and a touchdown. To be honest, these numbers are nothing to write home about. However, considering the Jets’ offensive line last year was pretty bad, outside of Mekhi Becton. He averaged over 4.5 yards per carry, which could be a sign of untapped potential. Johnson was drafted in 2019, and is still only 23, which the Jets should try to use to their advantage. Josh Adams played sparingly last season, and he will probably never advance beyond a rotational player.
What Should Fans Expect?
Fans should expect one thing and one thing only: lots of names in the backfield. Coleman, Carter, Johnson and even Adams should all be seeing reps at some point during the season. All of their running backs are 28 years old and under, and all of them should have some value for the team in different ways. Specifically, Carter should be fighting for the starting spot, Coleman should give them a proven number 1 option, Perine should give Zach Wilson a nice receiving option out of the backfield, Johnson will provide good depth as a somewhat unproven player and Adams will bring some competition to everyone ahead of him.
In conclusion, there is a lot of uncertainty coming into this season, and there will be a lot of competition. The depth chart should shake up a lot as training camp progresses, and it could look much different when the season starts. The Jets’ starting options are probably middle of the pack in the NFL, but they have lots of depth, depth they haven’t had in years. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see a running back cut when the season starts, likely Adams (if it happens). Only time will tell.