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NY Jets Spotlight: Bilal Powell

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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Spotlight.  Here we spotlight one key player for each game of the season, hopefully putting a different player in the spotlight each week.  Today's player in the spotlight is New York Jets running back Bilal Powell.

Bilal Powell is a 28 year old 5' 11", 205 pound running back out of Louisville University.  Powell was drafted by the New York Jets with the 126th overall selection in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL draft.

Bilal Powell got off to a slow start in his career, barely seeing the field his rookie year of 2011.  By 2012 however Powell had improved enough to earn a permanent spot in the Jets running backs rotation, and while he has never been the lead back, Powell has been a key contributor in the Jets backfield ever since.

Last week Powell got his chance to be the lead back after starter Matt Forte left the game with a leg injury, and Powell did not disappoint.  Bilal Powell responded with a career day, gaining a career high 179 yards from scrimmage and scoring a career high two touchdowns.  Matt Forte looks likely to be out again for Saturday's game against the Miami Dolphins so Powell will once again assume lead back responsibilities.

Here are Bilal Powell's statistics for his NFL career.

Year

Rushing

Yards

Rushing

Yards/Attempt

Receptions

Receiving

Yards

Receiving

Yards/Attempt

Total Yards

.

2011

21

1.6

1

7

7.0

28

2012

437

4.0

17

140

8.2

577

2013

697

4.0

36

272

7.6

969

2014

141

4.3

11

92

8.4

233

2015

313

4.5

47

388

8.3

701

2016

456

5.8

42

281

6.7

737

.

Totals

2065

4.3

154

1180

7.7

3245

Saturday's game against the Dolphins represents a chance to be a difference maker for Bilal Powell. Weather forecasts are calling for a windy, rainy day with a messy field affected by slushy snowfall earlier in the day.  The sloppy conditions will make passing difficult, putting the running game at a premium. In addition, with 2nd year quarterback Bryce Petty slowly getting himself established in the NFL the Jets will look to Powell to take the pressure off Petty by establishing a strong running game.

The 2016 NFL season is over for all practical purposes for the 4-9 Jets.  The rest of the schedule will consist of extended tryouts for various Jets players for the 2017 roster and depth chart.  Bilal Powell has never been a lead back in the NFL, and many are skeptical he can be effective in that role.  Last week's game against the 49ers represented a first step towards proving he can be a lead back, and Powell responded in spectacular fashion. This week's game represents the next step.  If Powell can finish the season strong and establish that he is worthy of consideration for the lead back role, perhaps the roles of Powell and Forte will be reversed next year.  In any event, this game figures to be a run heavy slugfest.  That's Bilal Powell's call to arms on Saturday.  This is  Bilal Powell's time to shine.  This is an opportunity for a perennial backup to state his case to be a starter in this league. Bilal Powell, the spotlight is yours. May you shine brightly this Saturday in the slush and slop of a cold, rainy night in the New Jersey meadowlands.