New York Jets: Matt Forte Absence Was an Ingenious Blessing 2
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 01: Elijah McGuire #25 of the New York Jets scores a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during their game at MetLife Stadium on October 1, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

The New York Jets may have just found their new dynamic duo in the backfield. Enter Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire into the equation.

Out with the old and washed-up (Matt Forte). In with the young and exciting (Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire). Although honestly, most New York Jets fans already knew how special Powell was, it was just a matter of getting the proper opportunities to prove it.

Throughout his career with the green and white, any chance Powell had at being the bell cow was dashed: not due to lack of performance, but because of infatuation with another piece.

  • 2011, Shonn GreeneLaDainian Tomlinson, Joe McKnight
    • LT is a future HOF member, Greene had a nice spark career with Jets and McKnight was literally throwing up in camp because he was so out of shape.
  • 2012, more Greene, but suddenly Powell jumps to second on the team (437 yards rushing).
    • With Greene gone after 2012, it has to be Powell time right?
  • 2013, enter Chris Ivory via trade from the New Orleans Saints.
    • Again, Powell is shoved to second in the rotation, despite Ivory starting the season injured and Powell leading the AFC in rushing when he was starting.
  • 2014, Chris Johnson (aka CJ2K) is brought in for a cup of coffee on the season. Now, Powell is shoved to third in the rotation.

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Quick Aside …

At this point, I don’t know how Powell isn’t thinking, “This team doesn’t believe in me, just give me a chance man.”

  • 2015, finally Powell is used as both a runner and a receiver, nabbing a career-high 47 receptions.
  • 2016, they bring in another guy, this time Matt Forte. But with his age and injuries, Powell stepped up to the plate and nearly led the team in rushing.

Now we’re in the present, where the Jets are suddenly looking good. Powell is leading the team in rushing (235 yards rushing). Finally, it seems like it’s Powell’s time to shine. The only thing that’s disappointing is that the Jets didn’t seem to realize this on their own.

Something always seems to go wrong and the Jets are forced to use Powell, instead of just realizing that they have this star in the backfield.

What a gritty play by Powell, who didn’t stop until the final whistle. This resulted in a massive gain for the Jets. Although Powell is again being pushed by another running back, this time it’s not an over-the-hill running back, but another youngster.

The Jets have struggled over the years with their late-round picks and, hell, even early-round picks. The key for teams though is turning those middle to late-round guys into starters and key contributors.

It seems like the Jets have found a diamond in the rough in one Elijah McGuire. The former sixth-round pick out of Louisiana–Lafayette ran wild on Sunday. Over the last several weeks, he’s gotten mop-up duty and has impressed in spurts, but the Jags contest was his coming out party.

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What about Matt Forte?

Due to his contract, he couldn’t join his brothers in the veteran purge by the Jets. Forte being out was the best thing for the Jets. Because if they aren’t going to the young guys themselves, I’m glad that Forte was forced out so the Jets could use their young guys.

But the tanking talk should be shelved.

The Jets are playing with some fire and heart and that was rejuvenated by the fanbase. Playing at home is so underrated in the NFL and the Jets could use that to continue their momentum.

From the talent that’s been demonstrated so far, the Jets appear to be a seven or eight win team, but, naturally, we’ll have to see how it plays out.

 NEXT: Jets Rapid Reaction, Report Cards in Win Over Jags 


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Paul A. Esden, Jr.

People call me Boy Green for my unwavering dedication to all things New York Jets. I work at The Score 1260 in Syracuse and I’m extremely passionate about sports. I aspire to continue my rise through the business and hopefully I’ll end up working for the New York Jets in some capacity.