Running Back Moving Forward

andrew liefWith the signing of free agent running back Chris Johnson to a two-year, $8 million deal, the Jets now have the potential of having a dominant one-two running attack.

Johnson, paired with fellow running back Chris Ivory has the potential to develop into a “thunder and lightning” backfield.

Johnson’s numbers the past four seasons haven’t been anywhere near his 2,006-yard season in 2009, but he still has the speed to take it the distance on any play.  Last season, Chris Ivory ran for 833 yards on 182 carries.  His physical style of running is very difficult for opposing defenses to stop.

I think both Johnson and Ivory have the potential to run for 1,000 yards next season. Having a two-man backfield will allow both backs to be fresher throughout the game because they won’t have to carry the full burden.

Since Johnson is a homerun back, the defenses will have to focus on him every play, so things will spread out for quarterback Geno Smith and the rest of the offense.  New wide receiver Eric Decker will have plenty of space to work to get open.

General Manager John Idzik will have to bring in another wide receiver or two, and a tight end to help Smith and the offense take the next step. With a few more weapons their playoff chances for next season will increase significantly.

With Johnson and Ivory in position to be the two featured backs for the Jets, it appears that running back Mike Goodson will be the odd man out.  Goodson is coming off surgery to repair his torn ACL and MCL, as well as having some law trouble, so it wouldn’t shock me if he is cut sometime soon.

Signing Johnson is one of the few moves that Jets’ General Manager John Idzik has made this season.  He’s showing the fans that he won’t overpay for players, and would rather wait to get players he think can make a positive impact at a low price.

With the draft being only two weeks away, Idzik will have to make the most of their 12 picks, which is tied for the most picks with the St. Louis Rams. Having this many picks, Idzik needs to ensure that the players he drafts can start and make a positive impact right from day one.

Having so many picks the Jets will have the ability to make some trades. If they do make a trade they shouldn’t move up in the draft.  That would be a huge mistake.  Moving up in the draft would require the Jets to give up assets.  With the way their current roster stands, they should be looking to acquire as many people who can help their roster because they are more than one piece away from becoming a championship team.

If anything, they should look to trade down to acquire assets if they feel they’re unable to get a good value with the players remaining when their pick at 18.  By having more picks in the draft, they will then be able to fill all of the depleted spots on their roster.

I think they will keep the 18 pick, so come back next week for my 2014 New York Jets draft preview where I will give an in-depth analysis of all the Jets’ needs and what prospects they should be looking at.