When you watch from an outside perspective, it’s easy to forget how complicated the game of football is.
From the complex schemes to the vast playbooks and audibles, this sport is no joke. It takes a scholar and a student to be successful, not just an athlete.
For New York Jets rookie running back Michael Carter, “this is what college should have been like.” In a candid response during a press conference on August 4, 2021, the North Carolina product described his “new major” to a group of chuckling reporters.
“I study [like] crazy… I get to major in football and it’s my everyday lifestyle, it’s my everyday job, it’s my passion,” Carter explained.
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Jets Coaching Staff Educates Youth
The rookie has the right mindset. Study, put the effort in off-the-field, and understand that half this game is mental.
It’s a trait that we’ve also seen in fellow first-year players like Zach Wilson and Elijah Moore among others. Carter and Moore were both actually touted by special teams coordinator Brant Boyer earlier this offseason for waking up early and putting in “extra work” at the facility.
Did the Jets just draft a really dedicated group of youngsters, or does it all start with this coaching staff? Maybe it’s a little bit of both.
According to Carter, “[running backs coach Taylor Embree] wanted [his players] to understand the background and different ways that the offense can work.”
He said: “When I got here, I had to learn the history of our offense.” Carter mentioned the Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Football Team as a few of the franchises he’s been studying film from. “We look forward to wearing teams down… like [Robert] Saleh said, everything starts up front,” the running back voiced.
Carter noted that it’s still a team sport at the end of the day, but added that the Jets’ rushing attack “looks forward to doing [its] part.”
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Mentors New & Old
“I’ve never had like a big bro,” replied Carter when asked about veteran Tevin Coleman. “Tev understands this league, he’s going into year seven, he understands like where I’m at right now, he understands where I’m coming from.”
“He’s been in the game, he’s been in those shoes, and he’s been in that fourth quarter with three minutes left,” the UNC back elaborated. “He knows the emotions too. Tevin’s been to two Super Bowls, he’s got a lot of experience, so I’d be a fool to not pick his brain.”
The response inspired a follow-up about which running backs the ‘growing historian’ watched as a child.
“[Emmitt Smith] and Barry Sanders are like, probably my GOATs, along with [LaDainian Tomlinson],” replied the Florida native. “Those are just probably the most I watched growing up and then, obviously my dad made me watch Walter Payton.”
The rookie told the media that this running back room has “supreme confidence” in their ability, but also repeated that it’s “never a bad day when you’re learning.”
When asked about himself, Carter remained humble. “I don’t want to get ahead of myself because we haven’t played any games yet… as far as my confidence, I feel good. I feel like I’ve been playing football my whole life — playing contact football, I’m from Florida now — so contact football since four. This is my whole life, football has been there for me when nothing else was, and so whatever you put into the game you’re going to get out of it… I run with authority because I love football.”
Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur described the rookie’s ball carrier vision in a press conference earlier that day. He said: “What’s been cool about [Carter] is — and you can see it on tape — he has just such a good feel for holes and space. When you think he’s about to hit something, he’s just so tight to the ground and under control that you really never know where he’s going to go but it always seems like the right decision.”
The rookie, who spends a lot of time learning from the past, looks to have a very bright future with the Green and White.