The New York Jets made a few surprising moves this spring by upgrading on players that had pretty solid success in 2021.
One difficult decision surrounded cornerback Bryce Hall, who posted a solid campaign last year analytically speaking. And yet, the Jets recognized that adding both D.J. Reed Jr. and Sauce Gardner turned a weak area into a strength.
They had the same mindset when it came to the running back position.
Michael Carter Still Poised for Major Role
To many fans, running back was a luxury in round two considering the roster flaunted options like Michael Carter, Tevin Coleman and Ty Johnson among others. The Jets front office had other ideas.
Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur and general manager Joe Douglas didn’t just want to be good at RB, they wanted to take the top off opposing defenses with a true home-run threat. That was the thinking behind trading up to secure a top-tier collegiate ball carrier in Breece Hall.
While Carter proved to be shifty and dynamic in multiple facets of the game, he was never going to be a true workhorse at the NFL level. Hall can be that and more.
Having said all that, the draft addition caused many to “fade” Carter in 2022. After all, he just became the Robin to Hall’s Batman.
Today on September 8, LaFleur reassured fans that the 2021 fourth-rounder will still be heavily relied on in this system, calling him the “heartbeat” of the NYJ offense.
“You’ve seen Michael Carter play at a pretty good level,” he voiced, “[but] I don’t think Mike has reached even near his ceiling. He wanted to be one yard faster and that’s what he worked at all offseason and that’s what I’ve seen. Again, now he’s got to go do it. I’ve been very pleased [about Carter] like I always will… he’s the ultimate professional, he’s the ultimate leader, he is the heartbeat of our offense, he really is — just with how he brings juice every single day. He’s going to have his opportunities on Sunday, it will be fun to see what he does with them.”
2-Headed Dragon at RB
LaFleur’s west coast scheme was always supposed to dominate on the ground. It’s how he and his colleagues set up quarterbacks like Matt Ryan and Jimmy Garoppolo off play-action in Atlanta and San Francisco.
That’s the plan for Zach Wilson someday — and Joe Flacco in Week 1. Limit the role of the quarterback, which is clearly one of the Jets’ weakest positions on the entire roster at the moment.
You do that by putting the ball in the hands of your playmakers, and Hall and Carter are chief among them. If the RBs can move the chains on the ground, it takes so much pressure off the passing game.
The Jets struggled in this regard early in 2021 and as a result, Wilson had some of his worst performances of the season. They can help Flacco by pounding the rock on Sunday.
You might even see this two-headed dragon on the field together in certain situations. That would certainly keep the opposition guessing on defense, especially when you add a speedy wide receiver like Elijah Moore or Braxton Berrios to the mix.