Running Back Reinforcements

Thearon W. Henderson

With running backs dropping like flies, the NY Jets will likely need a few reinforcements at the position. Here are two who fit the bill and should be available.

Joe McKnight has a head injury. What else is new? As talented as he may be, he never seems to be able to stay healthy for long. He also never seems to be able to earn the coaching staff's trust, for whatever reason. It's probably a safe bet that he will never be the bell cow in NY.

Chris Ivory has a hamstring injury. What else is new? The knock on Ivory coming into NY was that he had a problem staying on the field. His Jets debut has done nothing to assuage those fears. Ivory could not stay healthy in college. He could not stay healthy in New Orleans. And he is not healthy now. An over/under number for games played in 2013 by Ivory of 8 does not seem particularly out of line. Counting on him to be the bell cow all season seems risky in the extreme.

Mike Goodson has gone missing at an undisclosed location. He has legal problems. He may have NFL suspension problems. He may have substance abuse problems. There is no way to know when or even if he will ever take the field for the NY Jets. Counting on Goodson seems even less advisable than counting on McKnight or Ivory.

Where does that leave us? In a very precarious position at running back. The Jets have Bilal Powell, who is minimally competent if not particularly inspiring. And then they have John Griffin, Tommy Bohannon and Lex Hilliard. Is anyone here confident those guys can get it done at running back? I didn't think so. So, what to do?

For John Idzik's consideration, I present two ideas that are talented, fit the West Coast offense, and should be available for little or no compensation. First guy up: Roy Helu. Helu is a very talented back with outstanding speed and excellent pass catching skills. In 2011, his rookie year, Helu ran for 640 yards at a 4.2 ypc clip and caught 49 passes out of 59 targets for 379 yards and 7.7 yards per reception. For a brief time it appeared that Helu might grab the bell cow role in Washington, but eventually he fell out of favor with Mike "the fantasy football Satan" Shanahan and by 2012 he was an afterthought in the offense, mired behind rookie sensation Alfred Morris and Evan Royster. In 2013 the Redskins added Rutgers rookie Jawan Jamison and Keiland Williams, and Darrel Young is also on the roster and had crept ahead of Helu on the depth chart. This leaves Helu very much on the bubble. It is quite possible he will be cut. But rather than wait for something that may or may not happen (you never know when Shanahan may decide Helu has inexplicably vaulted 3 guys on the depth chart overnight), and rather than have to compete with other teams for Helu's services if he is cut, I think the Jets should offer a 6th or 7th round draft pick for Helu and see if that gets it done. He would fit the West Coast offense perfectly, he has had prior success in the NFL and he might be available for a song. This is the kind of guy we need to be targeting.

The other option is a bit more outside the box. OK, OK, it's more of a "Box? What box? I don't see any box" kind of option. I present for your consideration running back C J Anderson. C J Who erson? you ask. Well, I don't blame you. Anderson is a 2013 UDFA out of U. California Berkeley. He was a junior college transfer who only had 2 seasons at Cal, where he split carries with a scat back whose name escapes me. Anderson is a 5' 8", 224 lb powerfully built, low to the ground running back. He has decent, not great speed, but he has very good cutback ability, excellent field vision, runs very low to the ground with excellent leverage and power, and is a very good receiver with outstanding hands. He is everything Shonn Greene was supposed to be but wasn't, plus the added dimension of excellent pass catching ability. He's another guy who would make an excellent fit in the West Coast offense. Anderson is currently in the Bronco's camp, but with their crowded backfield, he is the longest of longshots to make the roster. At best he projects as a practice squad guy in Denver. Here in NY he might be capable of being the bell cow. I fully expect him to be cut at some point, at which time the Jets would be well advised to go out and sign him. I know most of you have never heard of him, and are probably pretty skeptical, so I will leave you with the following highlight video. Scout him for yourself, see what you think. If I may, I'd like to call special attention to the one handed grab he makes off an errant pass approximately halfway through the video. Shonn Greene couldn't do that even in his dreams.

CJ Anderson Highlight (via byron brooks)


So those are my ideas as to how to creatively fill what has become an urgent need. What do you all think of these guys? And do you have any other ideas?

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