When the New York Jets drafted running back Breece Hall, it was obvious that the plan was a youth movement at the position.
Michael Carter was selected the year before and general manager Joe Douglas even signed undrafted rookie Zonovan “Bam” Knight ahead of camp. Three backs under the age of 24 years old — which is why many believed they’d keep the stalwart of the room at the 2022 roster cutdown.
Tevin Coleman brought experience, security, reliability and versatility as an established pass-catcher and blocker. Honestly, it made a ton of sense that he’d make the team, and then the curveball came in from Douglas and the coaching staff. The big-name veteran would be released in favor of Knight and Ty Johnson.
In the end, Knight was sent to the practice squad as well and Coleman was left without a job — but it appears that only lasted a couple of weeks.
Tevin Coleman Reunites With Kyle Shanahan, 49ers
This move all stems from injuries to starting running back Elijah Mitchell and backup Tyrion Davis-Price, which has forced San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan to shuffle the deck a bit. Outside of undrafted rookie Jordan Mason, Coleman now joins a veteran room that includes Jeff Wilson Jr. and Marlon Mack.
Just like in New York, Coleman will have to battle for snaps with the 49ers but his familiarity with the scheme gives him an outside chance of earning some playing time.
Coleman was a former third-round draft pick in 2015 but he’s spent the past five seasons in a system that has been run by Shanahan or a disciple — Jets OC Mike LaFleur. He ran well in 2021 with 4.2 yards per carry over five starts and 11 appearances but was unable to find the end zone.
For all intents and purposes, this is the most opportunistic match for the 29-year-old running back at this point in his career.
Breece Hall & Michael Carter Are Lifeblood of 2022 Offense
It’s been a very nice start for running backs Breece Hall and Michael Carter despite a couple of uncharacteristic hiccups in Week 1 — Hall’s fumble and Carter’s touchdown drop.
The pair has 271 scrimmage yards combined over two games (9.5 receptions per outing) and it feels like they haven’t even scratched the surface yet. Earlier today, LaFleur was asked about the Jets being the current league leader in passing attempts and his answer was pretty blunt: “I don’t like it.”
This offense is supposed to grind out games with their rushing attack. That’s the reason they drafted two promising talents in back-to-back years. If you look at the numbers, both Hall and Carter have been effective with 5.6 and 4.9 yards per carry, respectively. So far, the rushing attempts just haven’t been there.
The NYJ offense started painfully slow in Week 1 and got away from the run in the second half. Then in Week 2, the defense had trouble containing Cleveland and LaFleur had to alter the game script to account for the deficit.
Fortunately, the Jets were able to scratch together a win against the Browns, and that sets them up with a pretty decent outlook in Week 3. For once, this franchise can breathe a little bit early in the season and that goes for LaFleur and the play-callers too.
With a victory on the board and a little less pressure to perform right out of the gates, maybe you’ll see the Jets stick with the run game against a Cincinnati Bengals defense that ranks in the middle of the pack versus the ground game. What a difference a win can make.