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Jets’ Bilal Powell shows gritty old-school qualities to Todd Bowles

Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets

Bilal Powell #29 of the New York Jets celebrates after a five-yard touchdown run against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Ezra Shaw

Todd Bowles gushed about Bilal Powell on Monday after reviewing the Jets’ 23-17 victory over the 49ers on Sunday, and why not?

With Matt Forte sidelined early by a knee injury — the extent of which Bowles said he would discuss on Tuesday — Powell ran 29 times for 145 yards, including the 19-yard game-winner in overtime, and caught five passes for 34.

“He’s going to put in a hard day’s work and he’s going to bust his butt no matter whether he’s playing special teams or offense,” the coach said on a conference call with reporters. “He just loves to play the game, and that’s rare. He kind of has an old soul as an old-school player, but he’s very much a modern-day player.”

Powell also has proved to be productive when given the chance. So why was he not used more earlier this season, when the offense could have used a boost?

“We have two backs; Matt’s a good back as well,” Bowles said. “It was just Bilal’s turn to shine and he did.”

Tannehill out vs. Jets

The Dolphins got good news on Monday when an MRI revealed that quarterback Ryan Tannehill suffered only a sprained ACL and MCL in his left knee against the Cardinals — not the torn ACL initially feared.

It is possible he could return later this season, but not in time for Saturday night’s game against the Jets, who will face backup Matt Moore instead.

Petty has ‘moxie’

After Sunday’s victory, Bowles and some players referenced Bryce Petty’s feistiness. On Monday, the word of the day was “moxie,” an old-fashioned term the coach twice used to describe his, um, feisty young quarterback.

“He has some moxie, but there are some reads he’d like to have back and some things he could have done better,” Bowles said.

One thing coaches will focus on moving forward is keeping Petty on the move, where he clearly is more comfortable.

Bowles called it “allowing himself to play more for who he is as opposed to just being in the system and allowing some of his moxie to come out, some of the things he can do well, like move in the pocket.”

Burris impresses Bowles

Over the final three games the Jets will seek to assess young players who might help in the future. One of them, rookie cornerback Juston Burris, stood out to Bowles on Sunday.

“I thought Burris did a good job when he was in there and got some good playing time and experience,” Bowles said.

Burris was credited with three tackles and a pass defensed.


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