This is the first in a series, introducing new players, or in some cases returning players (lack of anything new). Our division is among the best in the NFL, and with an upcoming year, facing some tough games, it has been imperative that our teams re-tooled and improved.
The Jets went into the off-season knowing too well that Chris Ivory would walk away, another team would want to pay him more than the Jets would have. Ivory, when healthy, was a workhorse. A punishing running back, with no fear of going up the middle and carry linemen and linebackers with him for extra yards. Early in the season, when Chris was healthy, the Jets relied on him heavily, as the new offense was taking shape. Unfortunately, runners with Ivory’s style do not play a lot of games, and when they do, they are generally banged up.
As Ivory nursed one injury after another, Chan Gailey began to rely on long time back up, Bilal Powell. Suddenly the Jets started too win again, and the offense became unpredictable. Powell really benefitted from Chan’s spreads which relies on QB to make quick reads. Bilal caught more screens than his entire career combined, and the idea of running through defensive lines was no longer priority number one.
With the signing of Matt Forte, and the re-signing of Bilal Powell, it is very clear this Jets 2016 team will be passing even more so than last season. For good measure, they signed a younger Ivory clone, Khiry Robinson.
Matt played his entire career for the Chicago Bears, he turned 30 years old in December. Forte has been among the best pass-catching running backs in the last few years. He has been the Bears heart and soul all along. His age, and the emergence of younger Jeremy Langford persuaded the Bears to let him walk away.
The Jets get Matt at a very reasonable contract, and although he is not 22 anymore, he still has the ability to catch and get many yards after the catch. He will do very little in the sense of actually running up the middle, but defenses will be trying to figure out how to stop him.
In eight seasons, he has rushed 2035 times, for 8602 yards (4.2 per game). He has caught 487 balls for 4116 yards (8.5 per catch), with 8.1 yards after the catch. Forte has scored 64 TDs and only fumbled 20 times, losing the ball 14 times.
As a Jets fan, I absolutely love this move for many reasons. First of all it clearly means the Jets have moved away from that stone age offensive mentality that Rex, Mangini and Edwards installed. The Jets will be more explosive offensively in year two of the Bowles/Chan Show.
Matt Forte’s presence will help up and coming Bilal Powell, and the duo could be very dangerous, as Khiry does the dirty work. Forte will keep defenses honest, and force them to play more DBs than they are accustomed to. This will give the QB (whomever that is) more time, because they will not be blitzing too often.
It also helps that Matt Forte has been a model citizen in his career, welcome to the Jets Matt!