Jets may ride Bilal Powell again against Titans

Bilal Powell scores a touchdown past New England

Bilal Powell scores a touchdown past New England Patriots strong safety Steve Gregory (28) during the third quarter. (Sept. 12, 2013) (Credit: AP)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - After shouldering the Jets' running game last week, Bilal Powell may be forced to do the same in Tennessee.

The soft-spoken Powell amassed career highs in yards (149), carries (27) and longest gain (27) after Chris Ivory left Sunday's game against the Bills.

Rex Ryan provided no injury update on Ivory, who did not practice Wednesday after reinjuring the left hamstring that sidelined him for much of training camp. After the Jets' 27-20 win, Ivory told Newsday the injury "could be a three-day thing or a week" -- and based on that timetable, he could miss Sunday's game.

And it likely will be Powell's show again.

The Titans will be a much tougher assignment for the Jets' offensive line and running game. Tennessee (2-1) has the seventh-best defense in the league and is 13th in rushing yards allowed (101.7 a game).

Guard Willie Colon said of the Bills: "We just took it to them. We were able to expose them in a lot of different areas."

But the Titans, he said, are far more athletic and physical. "These guys are similar to Buffalo, but they have more guys that are gritty and edgy," Colon said, adding that Mike Munchak has infused "his attitude and nastiness" on his players. "It's going to be a good test for us."

Alex Green, who had five carries for 14 yards against Buffalo, said he hasn't been told whether he'll have a bigger role this week. But he added, "I think it's pretty much understood with Chris being out."

Green, who played at Hawaii, met the 5-10, 204-pound Powell during the predraft process in 2011 and was selected in the third round by Green Bay. The Jets took Powell in the following round, 126th overall.

"It was awesome to watch," Green said of Powell's performance last week. "We came in in the same class, so I'm definitely rooting for him."

Powell, one of the team's best blockers, always has been physical. Although he might not be the fastest or the biggest back out there, Rex Ryan said, Powell does his job. "Man oh man, he was outstanding in that game," the coach said.

Colon heard of him from former Steelers teammate Maurkice Pouncey, who played with Powell at Lakeland (Fla.) High.

"Lakeland football is known for being a powerhouse," Colon said. "So I knew he came from that pedigree and I automatically assumed he was a good player. And since I've been here, he's done nothing but work hard. There's nothing he does that's extra special. But he's just a guy that clocks in, clocks out.

"He's soft-spoken but when he has the ball in his hands, he fights hard."

Green said he and Powell kept the Bills' defense "on its toes" and "a little off balance," adding, "I think it'll be good against Tennessee as well."

But while he and Powell have similar traits, Green acknowledged neither is as physical as the 222-pound Ivory, especially in short-yardage situations. "I guess somebody's got to step up and play that role," Green said with a smile. "I think me and Bilal can do a pretty good job of filling that void Chris left."

Powell's big day against Buffalo was made possible by the open lanes created by the line. If Colon & Co. do their job, Powell could have another breakout day in Tennessee.

Said Colon: "I don't see why he can't."

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