The Jets are going with third-year pro Bilal Powell as their starting back, but Chris Ivory will “play a lot of football as well,” head coach Rex Ryan said Wednesday.
Powell, Ryan said, “has earned the right to start,” according a transcript from the club.
Powell is listed first on the club’s depth chart, with Ivory second-string and ex-Packers back Alex Green third-string.
“Bilal did a tremendous job for us throughout training camp and in preseason games as well,” Ryan said.
The Jets’ coach later added: “It’s not just you feed one guy the football. Chris, obviously is a very talented back in his own right, so we will use his skills as well.”
The 24-year-old Powell rushed for 437 yards on 110 carries for the Jets a season ago. The club added Ivory from New Orleans and Goodson from Oakland in the offseason, but Ivory missed time with a hamstring injury early in the summer, and Goodson will serve an NFL suspension for the first four games.
With the Jets starting rookie quarterback Geno Smith in Week One, the play of Powell and Ivory could be key to New York’s chances of getting off to a good start in 2013. Both will apparently get reps against a Tampa Bay defense that may well stack the box daring New York to throw.