At the start of this season, Marty Mornhinweg promised to feed the hot hand with the New York Jets running game. We have three talented backs in Chris Ivory, Chris Johnson and Bilal Powell. However through two weeks of the season, Chris Ivory is head and shoulders the hottest hand. Should we reward his play with increased repetitions against the Bears?
So far the snaps have been split evenly between Johnson and Ivory with Powell mopping up. Chris Johnson leads the pack with 61 snaps, followed by Ivory on 57 and Powell on 30. However if you look in more detail, you can see how much better Ivory is than the competition, to start the season at least.
First of all I will say that it's a good idea to have Johnson in on 3rd down plays. He is the better pass catcher out of the bunch and he is quicker in the open field, using the H-back in passing patterns often lead to him getting space in the open field and at this stage, it looks as though Johnson needs that to make any plays.
Take a quick look at the table below.
|Player||Snaps||Attempts||Yards||Average||Yards After Contact||Missed Tackles|
Personally I think this table says it all. Ivory is the only player capable of making a man miss or avoiding a tackle. Powell hasn't had much chance, so I'm really referring to the two players getting the most snaps. Ivory gains more yards after contact, makes more people miss, and is the only back to have a rushing touchdown.
I like Johnson, I really do. However I do think that we should be using a much heavier dose of Ivory on first and second down and then keeping Johnson mainly for third down responsibilities. For some reason, we keep trying to get Johnson to the edge on stretch plays, and there are two main problems with that:
1) Johnson isn't as fast as he used to me, he just isn't. He isn't as explosive as he used to be and he doesn't get to the corner quick enough.
2) I'm sure everyone has noticed that defenses by and large are putting a bigger emphasis on speed. Athleticism on the defensive line and just pure speed in the linebacking unit.
So if you put that equation together, slower Chris Johnson + Quicker Defenses = Poor decision on the stretch, and we need to really do what's best for the team, and right now, it's giving the ball to Ivory.
If we do decide to really concentrate on establishing the run, then we may see more of Jace Amaro and less of Jeff Cumberland. To start the season I've noticed Jace having a lot more success when run blocking than Jeff, so I wanted to check the stats to see if what I saw matched up with what actually happened. I can confirm that it did, Jeff Cumberland is rated as a minus 3.7 in run blocking by PFF, the worst on the team. Where as Amaro is rated at a plus 1.4 which is a massive swing. He's actually rated as the third best run blocker on the team.