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New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.

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Bilal Powell powers Jets running game

Jets running back Bilal Powell during training camp.

Jets running back Bilal Powell during training camp. (Aug. 5, 2013) (Credit: Hans Pennink)

CORTLAND -- Just about everyone you ask has something good to say about Bilal Powell.

“(He) is probably one of the most underrated players in the league,” quarterback Mark Sanchez said of the 5-10, 204-pound running back, who scored a touchdown during a red-zone team period with Sanchez under center.

"He’s a hell of a player and he’s just coming into his own, just trying to get comfortable, and he’s lighting this camp on fire.”

The depth of their running back group – or lack thereof – is a growing concern, considering the prolonged absence of Mike Goodson, Chris Ivory’s balky hamstring and Joe McKnight’s recent head injury. But Powell’s presence on the field has given the offense a big boost.

“Bilal Powell, I think, has really stepped up and done a tremendous job for us,” Rex Ryan said of the third-year back who was the star of Saturday's Green and White scrimmage. “And the other guys, they’re doing OK.”

…Speaking of Mike Goodson: When asked if he knows when the running back will return, Ryan started to say “Not really,” before catching himself and shifting conversation away from Goodson. “Ya know, again, um, I’ll just leave it at, I’ve said what I’ve said about him and that’s really all I’m going to say about it,” he said.

…In other RB news: Ivory has yet to practice in any team drills in training camp. He sat out Monday’s session again, and instead pedaled on the stationary bike and did running and cutting drills under the watchful eye of a trainer.

“You’re kind of frustrated a little bit cause you want to see Big Chris get it going,” said Ryan. “But, hey, he’s had a hamstring. And when the trainers clear him, he’ll be ready to roll. He’s chomping at the bit to get out there. He’s working extremely hard. …This guy’s got three percent body fat, we can’t work him harder in the weight room. It’s just an unfortunate thing that he’s had.”

…Due to their shortage of running backs on the field, FB Tommy Bohanon has had to pick up the slack. But, according to fellow rookie Geno Smith, Bohanon is having no problems with the extra workload.

“I call him ‘Tommy Bahama,’” Ryan said with a laugh, referring to the former Wake Forest fullback, who easily disposed of cornerback Isaiah Trufant (who’s generously listed as 5-8) on a run up the middle. “He’s doing a good job. He’s a load. ‘Tru’ needs to hit him lower if he’s going to tackle him. You don’t need to take him head on. Now ‘Tru’ thinks he’s the biggest guy on the field, but I think Tommy showed that he really wasn’t today. It was quite a collision.”

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