After becoming the #1 option at running back for a team last season, Chris Ivory is ready for the next step in his third season with the New York Jets, which is getting almost every touch possible.
He rushed for a team-high 821 yards on 198 carries, scoring six touchdowns. After years of being a #3 option in New Orleans, Ivory seems ready for the workload expected from a team that will run a lot as their quarterback situation with Geno Smith behind center doesn’t exactly spread feelings of confidence and success.
Ivory split some of his time in the backfield with Chris Johnson in 2014, but Ivory was the leading man. Johnson has been released and is currently without a team. Ivory has competition from Daryl Richardson, Bilal Powell and Zac Stacy, but it’s hard to see any of the three getting starting drives over Ivory, and it looks like the plan is to make him an every-down back for now. Stevan Ridley is on the PUP list, and he might not have a lot left in the tank, but he’s certainly worthy competition after putting up nice numbers for the Patriots.
Being an every down back means more than just running and plowing through tacklers. He’s never been too involved in the passing game, even under Sean Payton, but he did catch 18 passes last season and new head coach Todd Bowles is planning on making him more involved in that aspect, as the Jets look to make the passing game simpler and quicker for Geno Smith to handle.
Ivory has 1654 yards in his two years with the Jets, averaging 11.5 carries per game. This season he expected to carry the ball a lot more (250 carries?) and make it clear that there’s no need to make him split time at the position with someone else; he feels confident he can do it and carry the load on his own.