When the New York Jets announced that running back Bilal Powell would be getting the start in Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it was a pretty significant surprise. However, head coach Rex Ryan was quick to point out that a starting spot doesn’t necessarily mean that Powell will be the go-to running back.
Ryan was quoted on Wednesday as saying that presumptive starter Chris Ivory “will play a lot of football as well”, and that doesn’t bode well for the prospects (fantasy or otherwise) of Powell. Ivory was brought in from New Orleans in the offseason to be the starter, but has suffered through a preseason filled with injuries including a nagging hamstring problem.
For his career, Chris Ivory has a extremely solid 5.1 yards per carry average, and frankly, is the better ball-carrier. However, Powell is much more resilient and flexible, in addition to having the healthier disposition.
Clarity in this situation will have to wait until Sunday afternoon, but with Ryan’s comments on Wednesday, the situation is more muddled that ever. It would be a shock to see Ivory healthy and not carrying the ball at all, but at the same time, the Jets wouldn’t have listed Powell as the starter without reason. Stay tuned.