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NY Jets: Matt Forte Finds Gailey Odd

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Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

In 2016 many Jets fans thought Matt Forte was brought in to be the pass catching back. Having eclipsed the dreaded 30 year old mark for running backs it seemed likely Forte's running would be a bit limited. The best use of the backs seemed to be to give backfield mate Bilal Powell a good share of the running touches, while using Forte's outstanding pass catching skills out of the backfield early and often.

The Jets under offensive coordinator Chan Gailey proceeded to a) give Forte one of the heaviest loads running the ball in the NFL, while barely letting Powell see the field running the ball, and b) routinely take Forte off the field on third downs, resulting in Powell getting the lion's share of the receiving touches at running back. This usage of the running backs ran Forte into the ground, ultimately resulting in him being sidelined in the last few games of the season. It also resulted in only 30 catches for Forte, a player many thought was being brought in largely for his receiving prowess. Many Jets fans found this more than a bit strange.

Apparently Jets fans were joined by Forte in this assessment. Yesterday at OTAs Matt Forte commented on new offensive coordinator John Morton's plans for the running backs. Morton plans to rotate the running backs.

That's pretty much what we did last year, except in a different order. Chan kind of did me on first and second down, and then put Bilal in on third, which is odd, to say the least.

Because I catch the ball, so why would you take me out on third down? It was a very odd approach. I think Johnny Mo will have a better grasp of how we will fit in the offense, and rotate from there. It keeps everybody fresh. Done by downs, it's kind of weird. [Morton] is a smart guy. I think [the rotation] will go [with] whoever has got the hot hand.

It remains to be seen just how the Jets use their running backs in 2017. Many think Bilal Powell will become the primary back with Forte more of a third down specialist. Others think the role will be split pretty much down the middle with each back getting fairly even amounts of touches running and catching the ball. In any event, it seems likely the odd way in which the backs were utilized in 2016 will not be repeated in 2017.