Chris Johnson has just signed a 2 year deal with the New York Jets, joining forces with fellow ex-free agents Michael Vick, Eric Decker, and Jacoby Ford, among others. His contract details are said to be $8 million over 2 years along with $1 million available in incentives.
Chris Johnson looks to be the final piece in New York’s offseason plan to rise back to the top of the conference. ISH will take a look at how he enhances each part of their offensive game and why the Jets are contenders in the upcoming NFL season.
Johnson slides into a backfield that could have used some help last season. The tandem of Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell was a fantasy football players nightmare week to week. Ivory had a modest season as a running back, but career highs for himself. His numbers of 833 yards on the ground on182 attempts in 15 games played gave the Jets a solid option at running back. Powell boasted numbers of 176 carries and 697 yards with all 16 games played. While these numbers seem pretty healthy for a backfield, one problem held them back. These 2 halfbacks only produced 4 touchdowns (Ivory 3, Powell 1) for the Jets the entire season. Chris Johnson brings in 6 touchdowns alone from last season and 50 in his 7 year career. Johnson also has not gone a season without surpassing the 1,o00 yard mark. Johnson shores up the Jets weaknesses in the running game and allows the team to spread their focus to other areas.
Johnson opens up the potential for play action passes deep downfield. His raw speed and cutting will be a nightmare for opposing linebackers trying to stop him on screen plays.
Both of these new tactics on offense allow new quarterback Michael Vick (or sophomore Geno Smith) to utilize some of their receiving weapons. Headlining that group is newly acquired Eric Decker. The former Bronco is coming off a career year of 87 receptions, 1,288 receiving yards, and 11 touchdowns. While Vick is no Peyton Manning, Vick is sure to have success with Decker at the helm.
His other options include former Raider Jacoby Ford, Jeremy Kerley, Jeff Cumberland, and Kellen Winslow. The holes left by the losses of Santonio Holmes and Josh Cribbs have already been filled, and Michael Vick and company look to be a dangerous offense when the season rolls around this September.
You can never have too much speed, can you? Pairing Michael Vick, a known threat on the ground, with CJ2K, one of the fastest backs in the league, is bound to be a beautiful marriage. The option play is sure to be implemented by Rex Ryan, who would be ridiculous to not take advantage of the amount of grass his quarterback and running back can turn up. Vick has never been in a system that has fully utilized his speed or ever ran the option properly. Since winning the starting job in Philly, Vick has been relied on to make plays with his arm. While he is a quarterback and that makes sense for someone in his position, it limited him in using what he is naturally gifted in – speed. Also, who says Chris Johnson can’t play a little quarterback himself? Just kidding. Kind of. The wildcat system will also be found in the Jets 2014-2015 playbook, using Johnson’s cutting ability and agility to mess with defenses every Sunday. I don’t expect CJ2K to throw more than 1 or 2 passes the whole season, but finding Johnson lined up at quarterback a few plays each game will likely be common.
The Jets may have a long ways to go before we can justify calling them title contenders. Their division and conference have some very strong teams in it, and the Jets have some building to do on the defensive time before we can bet on them stopping the offenses of New England and Denver in the playoffs. All in all though, the Jets 2014 offseason has been their most productive and least dramatic of recent years and have them headed in the right direction.