Why Chris Ivory Will Get More Carries Than Chris Johnson This Year

Chris Ivory truly had an up and down season last year. After all the excitement Ivory brought after a big off-season trade where the Jets flipped a 4th round pick to the Saints for his services, Ivory was a disappointment out of the gates. He couldn't stay healthy throughout Training Camp and Pre-Season and that carried over to the start of the season. Ivory struggled the first few weeks, but eventually turned it around and had an excellent 2nd half of the year.

Despite this, the Jets made a huge splash this off-season when they acquired former All-Pro running back, Chris Johnson. The Jets are hoping Johnson can return to some of his old form that made him a superstar only a few years ago, or at the very least, serve as a perfect compliment to the power running game of Chris Ivory. However, many Jets fans (and CJ himself) believe that Ivory will not take over the majority of the carries as the year goes on. Despite what Johnson believes, I don't see that being the case and here's why.

Ivory does have his flaws. In fact, Ivory has two huge flaws that has impacted him his whole career. Since coming into the league, Ivory has had trouble staying healthy. He also has not been able to make himself a serviceable dual threat catching the ball out of the backfield. In fact, he's still a huge liability in that area. So why is Ivory going to win this position battle as the season progresses? Simply put, it's because when he has the ball in his hands, there are few that can produce what he can.

Last year, the Jets would have been a nightmare scenario for almost any running back. It's a fact that continues to be overlooked. The Jets had a mediocre run blocking unit (Winters/Colon/Howard struggled) and an atrocious passing attack. That generally spells doom for a running back (look at Ray Rice who actually had a decent passing attack). Time and time again, teams stacked the box against the offense, and the Jets were forced to run it in fear of possibly turning it over with a rookie quarterback. Despite all the obstacles, Chris Ivory still was able to post a really good statistical year. And in reality, it almost could and should have been much better.

Let's take a look at Ivory's overall numbers last year:

182 Attempts, 833 Yards, 4.6 YPC, 3 TD

At first glance, those numbers look pretty good. The touchdowns aren't impressive, but when you take a look at the Jets lack of struggle on the offensive side of the ball, it's easily explained. However, it's Ivory's numbers once he got healthy that really jump out. Let's take a look at his stats after he was cleared from his hamstring injury. That would be starting with the New England game:

148 Attempts, 718 Yards, 4.85 YPC, 3 TD

As you can see, his numbers improved again. A 4.85 YPC would have placed him 5th among running backs that qualified. He would have been on pace for 1,149 yards had he been healthy the whole year if you used these stats. So to no surprise, once Ivory got healthy he was clearly more effective. Ivory was also extremely effective when he did not run to the left side of the line (Winters poor performance is a big reason for that). Let's take a look at his stats when he ran between the tackles behind Mangold, Colon, and Howard:

115 Attempts, 561 Yards, 4.88 YPC, 3 TD

And Ivory was certainly not running behind star run-blocking linemen. He was running behind Colon who graded 53rd on Pro Football Focus in run blocking and Austin Howard who also became expendable this off-season due to his regression in run blocking. With Giancomi coming over (who use to block for a similar back in Lynch), the line gets upgrade on that side in terms of run blocking.

Finally the Jets got smarter with Ivory as the season got on. As they began to implement more shotgun and lone setback situations, Ivory continued to have success. Let's take a look at his stats in these two formations:

145 Attempts, 807 Yards, 5.56 YPC, 3 TD

Ivory is in the prime of career unlike Chris Johnson. Ivory's vision and patience is what separates him from many of the backs in the league. He sets up the blocks well and presses the point.

Ivory won't be a 3 down back, but when evaluating him, it's clear that he's an excellent two down back. Ivory seems to get better as the season progresses, which is going to make him tough to take off the field. As long as Ivory stays healthy, expect him to outperform Chris Johnson this upcoming year and take advantage of this running back competition.

**All Stats Provided By Elias Sports Bureau and ESPN Stats & Information***

This is a FanPost written by a registered member of this site. The views expressed here are those of the author alone and not those of anybody affiliated with Gang Green Nation or SB Nation.