The New York Jets addition of Chris Johnson this offseason gives the offense an explosive playmaker out of the backfield, though Johnson hasn’t been as explosive as he used to be over the past couple of seasons. That said, a change of scenery should do him well, and he’s still been productive despite less home-run plays with the ball. Despite playing on a torn meniscus last season, Johnson still managed to run for over 1,000 yards for the sixth time in his career in as many tries, and he should hit the 1k mark again this year. The Jets will have a better passing attack, but this should still be a running team, especially with the running back duo of Chris Ivory and Johnson.
This is the first time in a few years the Jets have had a legitimate running back tandem, and it will be interesting to see how they balance the carries between Johnson and Ivory. CJ1K will be the lead back, but Ivory should still vulture plenty of carries from him. And while the goal-line back duties aren’t set in stone, the New York Daily News’s Seth Walder reports that Ivory looks like the “early favorite” to get those touches.
Jets RBs coach Anthony Lynn stated that if the season were to start today, Ivory would be the GL-back, “If we were playing tomorrow, Chris Ivory would be on the goal line, obviously. Sometimes in those situations you have an extra defender that you can’t block, and you need a back that can take him on.”
I think Johnson will get some of those touches, but I would be very surprised if the 222-pound Ivory doesn’t receive the vast majority of the short-yardage carries. This guy is incredibly powerful in between the tackles, and he has the ability to move the pile and truck defensive players. Johnson can’t do that, so it’s best for the Jets to play to their running backs’ strengths. In fact, the “obviously” indicates that Lynn sees this and is only keeping things open for the sake of ambiguity.