Running Wild

Running back Chris Ivory

With two key additions to their offensive backfield, the New York Jets are well on their way to reclaiming their ground and pound rushing game of yesteryear.

Early in the offseason the Jets watched some big names walk out the doors at Florham Park and have since been since trying to restock their talent pool through free agency and the draft. Last year's starting running back Shonn Greene was one of many key departures. Greene signed a three-year contract with the Tennessee Titans to spell starting tailback Chris Johnson.

The Jets have since developed a new core to carry the rock at the Meadowlands next season. Gang Green signed former Oakland Raiders running back Mike Goodson and acquired Chris Ivory from the New Orleans Saints in a draft trade. Both players will have an opportunity to compete for carries now that the Jets don't have a surefire starter.

Goodson was a fourth round draft pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2009, and signed with the Raiders before the start of the 2012 season. Goodson has not seen too many chances to establish himself as a starting running back in the NFL, but that could change now that he is in New York.

During his lone season in the Bay Area Goodson carried the ball only 35 times, but took advantage of his limited playing time; rushing for 221 yards and 6.3 yards per carry. Goodson also displayed good hands making a case to become an every down back. He caught 16 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown.

Goodson's best season came in 2010 with the Panthers. He rushed for 452 yards on 103 carries and three touchdowns. He also was dominate receiving the ball out of the backfield. Goodson tallied 40 receptions for 310 yards in a breakout year.

Gang Green acquisition of Ivory poses a potential powerful two headed monster in the backfield. Entering his fourth season in the league, Ivory only appeared in six games last season for the Saints, carrying the ball 40 times for 217 yards and two touchdowns. New Orleans had a crowded backfield with running backs with Mark Ingram, Darren Sproles, and Pierre Thomas all on the roster.

Thomas proved he could play in the NFL during his rookie season in the Big Easy when the Saints gave him the opportunity to start four games after Reggie Bush and Thomas went down with injuries. He rushed for 716 yards and five touchdowns during that campaign.

Ivory has dealt with injuries during his time in the NFL, including a lingering foot problem. If healthy, he is capable of lighting up the stat books. During his rookie season, Ivory was named Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week and FedEX Ground Player of the week after his outburst during Week 6 contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Goodson and Ivory are now two viable options to replace Greene. The Jets still have the speedy Joe McKnight and Bilal Powell. McKnight will most likely stay on special teams, but Powell surprised the Jets and gained more carries towards the end of the season. It will be interesting to see how the Jets split up the playing time of these running backs during training camp.

For Goodson, this is a chance to not only prove he belongs in the NFL, but is a legitimate starter in the league as well. For Ivory, this is a new start, a second chance to become the player he was during his rookie season. This will be an important training camp for these two players as they compete for carries and lead the resurgence of Gang Green's offensive backfield.

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