It feels like it was still just yesterday, but there was a time when the New York Jets were one of the most dangerous teams in the league. It was only two years from 2009 to 2010, the Jets won 24 games including the playoffs and got to two straight AFC Championship games. They did that off the heels of a great defense, and a balanced offense with a strong running game.
In 2010, the last time the Jets made the playoffs, the Jets rush offense was 4th in the NFL. In the nine years since, the Jets rush offense has only been in the top-5 once and has ranked 19th, 26th, and 31st over the last three seasons. A large reason for that has been due to the struggles on the offensive line and New York has made it a priority this offseason, now the questions are will the offensive line improve, and if so, can the running game be effective?
The Jets have been also active in the running back market by signing veteran Frank Gore and drafting Lamical Perine to add to Le’Veon Bell. The team has also been interested in free agent running back Davonte Freeman. Bell is the x-factor in all of this as he’s coming off a down year. Statistically, it was a down year, but it wasn’t all Bell’s fault with the struggles on the offensive line and his lack of carries in head coach Adam Gase’s gameplan. Bell still showed the talent that is in him and what made him a top-5 running back in the NFL in 2019. Bell is not just a great runner, but he is still a productive player as a pass catcher.
A three headed rushing attack of Gore, Perine, and Bell should help bring balance to an offense that desperately needs it, but there is going to have to be consistency in the amount of times the Jets run the football, and that falls on Gase. Gase’s rush offenses have been below average and that is going to have to change, if the team is going to win.
If the Jets run the ball effectively, with Bell leading the charge and having a solid season, New York will be in the playoffs. The Jets have always been a franchise that has won with a good running game, look no further than 50 years ago when they won their only Super Bowl, or when they went to the AFC championship games in 1998, 2009, and 2010. Bell, Gore, and Perine will be key factors.