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Syndication: The Record

The Jets might utilize a committee at running back this year instead of selecting a top dog for the position group.

Some teams mainly field a lone running back. Others prefer to utilize a committee to keep the defense guessing.

The Jets possess the opportunity to take the latter route in 2021 and include as many bodies as possible in the offensive game plans. And listening to the way Robert Saleh speaks about his group of backs, it sure seems like that idea could legitimately come to fruition.

“The league is changing some. I do think when you come at them in waves, it’s a lot harder on a defense, when you’re just able to wear down,” the rookie head coach said Friday when asked by the New York Post‘s Brian Costello about the team’s backfield. “There are some guys, Derrick Henry still does it, there’s a few of those. If you have one, you have one. But, you never want to force the issue and you want to share the load and give these guys more of a chance to have longevity in their careers because feeding them the ball that much can also be a negative.

“But when you look at the backfields that we have, they all have different skill sets. Tevin is explosive and fast, you got [La’Mical] Perine who’s big, a big, power back and that can get downhill in a hurry. Obviously, MC [Michael Carter] is a very agile quick back. Ty Johnson is explosive. I’m sure I’m forgetting someone, but each back has a unique trait and being able to find a role for them is going to be what’s fun throughout this process.”

Coleman, Perine, and Carter all possess a unique advantage.

Tevin carries the most experience in this type of offensive system given he was with coordinator Mike LaFleur over in San Francisco. LaFleur will likely be implementing elements of a Kyle Shanahan-type offense Coleman knows all too well.

Perine, on the other hand, carries prior experience working with this offensive line.

Carter is obviously just getting his feet wet in the NFL and will have a long way to go before he can become any sort of star. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t possess the potential to be one.

There’s a reason the Jets decided to use a fourth-round pick on the now-former Tar Heel — the versatility is most certainly present. Carter rushed for 1,245 yards and caught 25 balls for 267 more yards in 2020. Not to mention, he returned 29 kicks for 650 yards (22.4 yards per return) throughout his collegiate career, so the opportunity to field him as a return specialist is additionally there for this coaching staff.

There doesn’t seem to be a running back on this current roster that’s head-and-shoulders superior to another — utilizing a committee that could keep the opposing defense on its toes and also assist Zach Wilson with his important development may be the way to go.

Ryan Honey is a staff writer and host of the Wide Right Podcast.