Under The Microscope: Chris Ivory
“Best running back in the league,” said Brandon Marshall back in October. At the time, he wasn’t wrong. Chris Ivory hit the ground running in 2015 with 461 yards and 4 touchdowns in his first four games played. In week 7 things took a turn for the worse in a game against the New England Patriots. Ivory tweaked his hamstring on the first play, and was never the same following the injury. In the next ten games, Ivory only ran for 569 yards and 3 touchdowns. A very steep drop off from his first four games.
All things considered, Ivory had a decent campaign in 2015 but left a lot to be desired. He rushed for 1,070 yards and had 4.4 yards per carry. While these numbers aren’t terrible, you can’t help but wonder where the Jets would be if the fearless running back continued his pace from early in the season.
The sad truth is that Chris Ivory will never be a feature back in the NFL with his violent running style. His body will not allow him to get the bulk of the carries for an entire year. The Jets were tricked into thinking that he could carry the load with his magnificent start to the 2015 season. Unfortunately, the real Chris Ivory showed up in the second half of the year and there was nothing the team could do about it. They tried everything from limiting his practice time, to giving Bilal Powell a share of the workload. Nothing could bring back the Chris Ivory that we all came to know and love from the first four weeks.
This piece was not intended to bash Chris Ivory, but rather shed some light on who he truly is. He is a very serviceable back who, when used correctly, could flourish in a ‘running back by committee' role. His days of attempting to be a feature back for an NFL team are all but over.
What to do with Ivory: The Jets are now put in an interesting predicament with Chris Ivory. All the traits that make him a fan favorite (explosiveness, strength, tenacity) are also the same ones that scare you away. With little to no cap flexibility for the Jets, I could see the team looking elsewhere for a replacement. Bilal Powell will most likely be brought back on the cheap and I think the Jets will finally draft a running back this year, something that they haven’t done in a long time.
I think the writing is on the wall for Chris Ivory, and it might be time for him and the Jets to go their separate ways.