With issues regarding the defense and quarterback play this season, the New York Jets misuse of Matt Forte has been overshadowed but should be addressed.With all the issues and shortcomings facing the 2016 New York Jets, sometimes certain things can fall into the shadows. Obviously, the decline of the defense and the turnover issues that have plagued Ryan Fitzpatrick all season have taken center stage.
The recent news of Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson attending mandatory meetings at their leisure doesn’t help matters either. Many people view the disregard for attending these mandatory meetings as a direct consequence of Todd Bowles and company losing control of the team.
If players aren’t being utilized properly and aren’t happy with the overall direction of the team, this seems to be the way the river flows.
Which brings into light the issue of Matt Forte.
The Jets signed Forte this past offseason to replace the departing Chris Ivory. Forte was the full package for the Bears during his eight years with the team showcasing the ability to be a workhorse with great hands out of the backfield.
With eight years worth of tape from what makes Forte successful during his time with the Bears, why would the Jets brass not use the past as a Matt Forte instruction manual?
The age old saying “numbers don’t lie” holds true. Forte’s receiving numbers are down across the board. With Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s numbers suffering, why not take the easy route and swing the ball out to your running back that has averaged more than 500 yards receiving per year during his eight seasons in Chicago.
With the quarterback play being the largest difference between the 2015 and 2016 Jets offense’s, the misuse of Forte is even more puzzling.[graphiq id=”OxQTseskrb” title=”Matt Forte Career Receptions/Game and Receiving Yards/Game” width=”600″ height=”100″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/OxQTseskrb” link=”http://football-players.pointafter.com/l/6659/Matt-Forte” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]
Forte is experiencing career lows this season in receptions per game (2.3), receiving yards per game (18.7), and catch percentage (67.7%). As a result, his yards per reception this season (8) is also lower than his career average (8.4).[graphiq id=”g62dM2Qai6V” title=”Matt Forte Career Carries and Yards/Game” width=”600″ height=”500″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/g62dM2Qai6V” link=”http://football-players.pointafter.com/l/6659/Matt-Forte” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]
On the ground, Forte is averaging 70.4 yards per game, which is only 1.2 yards less than his career average. The problem is, he’s also piled up the most rushing attempts per game (18.8) since his rookie year.
The woes of the offense could easily be curbed with Fitz checking down to Forte and letting the skilled back do the work instead of trying to force the ball to his receivers. It is well known that the Jets under Bowles do not utilize the tight end in the passing game, so the running back is the first choice in check down receivers.[graphiq id=”altJwAjBjwh” title=”Matt Forte Career Targets Per Game and Yards Per Reception” width=”600″ height=”400″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/altJwAjBjwh” link=”http://football-players.pointafter.com/l/6659/Matt-Forte” link_text=”PointAfter | Graphiq” ]
For some strange reason, they’ve veered away from it.
The Jets are forcing Forte to become one-dimensional, which will eventually lead to the calls of “he is getting old, he just doesn’t have it anymore.” In the past, the Jets have done a good job of helping running backs who are over 30 find success, but, in this case, they may be bringing one down.