One of the major moves the Jets made in the offseason was not to re-sign popular and bruising RB Chris Ivory, instead choosing to dip into the free agent market and bring in former Bears RB Matt Forte.
The numbers leading up to this season, and a major reason why the Jets were fine with replacing Ivory with Forte, are impressive. Forte gives the Jets more of a duel threat coming out of the backfield, as he is very adept at catching the ball.
Since 2008 Forte has posted 12,608 yards from scrimmage, which is the most in the NFL over that span (Adrian Peterson of Minnesota is next with 11,935). Forte’s 4,082 receiving yards since 2008 is just 13 behind Darren Sproles for most in the NFL by a RB since 2008. Its obvious by those two stats that Forte has been a monster at producing for the Bears so far in his career. However, Forte has now reached the age of no return for RB (30) and history shows that is when RB start to make a steep decline in production.
The Jets have had the pleasure of suiting up Hall of Fame RB Curtis Martin, John Riggins and LaDainian Tomlinson. However, they haven’t enjoyed much success with RB in their first season playing for the Green & White. In the history of the Jets, only Curtis Martin and Thomas Jones ran for over 1,000 yards in their first season with the team.
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One other major concern for the Jets is the age of Matt Forte. The list of running backs in their first season who are 30 or older to run for 1,000 yards is a very short list. Only 4 running backs over 30 in the history of the NFL have rushed for over 1,000 yards in their first season with a new team. All of those running backs were younger than Forte, who will turn 31 in December.
Only 23running backs in the history of the NFL have rushed for over 1,000 yards at the age of 31 or over. Forte will turn 31 in December. Looking at those 2 lists, the prospects of Forte coming over and making a huge splash in the running game is not very likely.
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In today’s NFL, the heavy workload that single RB used to carry has reduced over the last few seasons as more and more teams have adopted the running back by committee theory. The Jets added Khiry Robinson and currently are testing out a bunch of RB to help lighten the workload for Forte this season. However, along with the hamstring injury that Forte has suffered that has made him miss all of the preseason so far, their other RB have hard a hard time staying healthy as well.
One thing is for certain, if the Jets are to get a sustained running attack this season, Matt Forte is going to need some help.