New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.
RB Chris Ivory says CJ2K signing 'was a good move'
Chris Ivory isn’t worried right now about his carries. Instead, the Jets running back is focused on the ultimate goal: ensuring the Jets win games in 2014.
That’s why Ivory said he fully supports the signing of former 2,000-yard rusher Chris Johnson.
“I thought it was a good move,” Ivory said Thursday of the Jets acquiring the former Titan. “Anybody that can come in and help us I think is good for the team.
Jets fans quickly took a liking to Ivory last season because of his bruising, punishing style. And Johnson, he said, brings a different dimension to the Jets running game. “He’s fast, has great speed, great hands,” he said of Johnson. “We all bring something different, so as far as complements, it just depends on the team and the scheme that they have for the guys.”
Though there were some questions about the Jets’ running back corps last offseason, the team finished sixth overall in 2013 averaging 134.9 yards rushing yards per game. After such an impressive finish, some where surprised by the Johnson signing – especially considering he still is rehabbing from meniscus surgery. But Ivory wasn’t one of them.
“Why would it surprise me?” he asked. “It’s just another guy on the team with great talent and it’s somebody that can bring diversity to the team and just give us another weapon and add explosiveness to what we have.
“I’ve seen him play. He can do it all. He speaks for himself.”
Johnson, meanwhile, said he found the strength of the Jets’ running game attractive when he was deciding where to sign. “Coming in, that was one of the reasons that helped me choose to come over here,” he said. “They have a pretty good offensive line and they like to run the ball and mix it up. …When I go in there, just try to make plays, don’t try to always make the big run.”
Neither Ivory nor Johnson know how the coaching staff plans to use them or fellow running backs Bilal Powell (the Jets’ fourth-round pick in 2011) and Alex Green. Johnson said he hasn’t been able to get on the field with his new teammates because he’s been busy rehabbing, but he anticipates being used more in space.
Ivory said he has “no concerns about touches,” adding that he’s “just trying to win.”
Asked how he would choose to split the carries among the running backs, Ivory smiled and said: “I don’t how I’d do it. It’s not my team. I’m just on the team. I’m working. However it turns up, I’m happy with whatever.”
Johnson echoed those same sentiments. “We’re just going to work together and everybody’s goal is to put wins on the board,” said the former Titan. “Not really worrying about the carries or who’s going to play this down and that down. We’ve just got one focus.”
There's a good chance Johnson will be shelved until training camp, but he’s anxious to make an impact regardless of the number of carries he's given. And while his knee isn’t yet 100 percent, he already has his sights set on the Jets-Titans game on Dec. 14.
“Any time you get released from a team you’ve been with for so long, you always want to go out there and prove that team wrong for letting you go,” said Johnson, rushed for more than 1,000 yards in each of his six seasons with the Titans, including 2,006 yards in 2009.. “…So it’s something else to put a chip on your shoulder and help you work harder, and extra motivation.”
With the Jets, Johnson said he saw an opportunity to reach the playoffs – something he only got the chance to do once in Tennessee (2008).
“This team is right on the edge of winning and making the playoffs,” Johnson said. “After being in the league six years and only being to the playoffs once, that’s something that a guy of my caliber would look toward – and that’s winning and playing in late December and January and hopefully making it to the big game.”