FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Despite being disappointed by their 31 point loss on Monday Night Football, Jets players and coaches still have to come to work. The Jets are preparing for their cross country trip to face the San Francisco 49ers (1-11) in the Bay Area.
One thing that needs to travel with the Jets, besides effort, is the run game. Not only do the 49ers have the worst defense statistically in the league, they are also 0-9 when allowing a 100-yard rusher this season. This plays right into the hands of Matt Forte and the Jets, who love to utilize the ground and pound strategy. On Monday night, the Jets rushed for just 36 yards on 14 attempts. On a few occasions Forte was stopped deep in his own backfield as soon as he got the football. The offensive line needs to make more of a concerted effort to block and create running lanes because if they do this team has a chance to win.
The Jets are 2-0 when Forte rushes for 100 yards, and 3-1 when he scores a rushing touchdown. When the Jets execute their game plan they can be successful, and although Nick Mangold (ankle) has been ruled out for the season, they shouldn't have any trouble running the football. But of course the same was said about the Colts' defense and we all know what happened.
It feels like every game the Jets lose we lament the fact that Bilal Powell didn't get the ball enough. Last game Powell had one carry. This needs to stop. Give him the ball because he's a great runner. Each attempt is a six yard gain waiting to happen. To start the year, the idea of Powell and Forte playing together sounded great. It has since been a disaster to say the least. In fact, we haven't seen much of the two on the field at the same time. Chan Gailey hasn't explored the strategy of playing these two together, and that has been the tale of this season -- lack of adjustments.
Forte has shown that he can find a rhythm once he catches a few passes out the backfield. Powell can catch also but he is best at hitting the hole. A mix up of Powell running and Forte receiving, could be the move to make at this point in the season.
A steady diet of Powell and Forte will provide comfort for Bryce Petty, who will make his second start of the season Sunday. Petty is still grooming into the position and will benefit from a consistent run game, especially on the road.
The Jets brought in a few backups this week to help carry the load, acquiring Brandon Wilds and Khiry Robinson. In preseason, Robinson showed that he was a tough runner before breaking his leg. He is out Sunday so there's really only two ways to approach the game from a play calling standpoint. Powell left, Forte right.
Marcus Reynolds is a staff writer for JetsInsider.com/NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@Marcus_JRNL), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).