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Rex Ryan might give hard-running Chris Ivory more carries

Jets running back Chris Ivory carries the ball

Jets running back Chris Ivory carries the ball against the Chicago Bears during a game at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 22, 2014 in East Rutherford, N.J. Credit: Getty Images / Elsa

Rex Ryan reiterated Tuesday that he has faith in all three of his running backs.

But the Jets coach hinted one could start to have a larger role soon.

"Maybe Chris Ivory will get more time because he's certainly running hard, he's doing a great job out of the backfield and there's not a whole lot of guys that want to tackle him," Ryan said on a conference call, a day after the Jets' 29-17 loss to the Chicago Bears.

The coaching staff has stressed since training camp that Ivory, Chris Johnson and Bilal Powell each have the skill set to be a starting NFL running back. Still, Ryan made it clear that they would ride the "hot hand" when necessary.

On Monday night, Ivory had established himself as a force to be reckoned with against the Bears. But with the Jets trailing in the second half, the bruising back was conspicuously absent on the field. Instead, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg mixed in Johnson and Powell but garnered little in the form of points.

Both Ivory and Johnson finished with 10 carries apiece. But while Ivory rushed for 44 yards, including a 17-yard run in the third, he also caught four passes for 52 yards.

Johnson, meanwhile, finished with 34 rushing yards and was targeted twice, but recorded no catches.

Ryan couldn't explain why Johnson, who underwent knee surgery in the offseason, hasn't been more productive.

"Well, I'm not sure," Ryan said. "I know that he practices hard every day. Hopefully it's just a matter of time before we can get him rolling."

And when asked why Ivory wasn't featured late in the game, Ryan again defended their three-headed monster.

"Well, I understand where you're coming from with that, but we do have faith in our backs, in all of our backs," he said, adding that Powell is underrated and it's only "a matter of time before" Johnson gets going.

"So we do have three good backs."

Nevertheless, he left the door open on seeing more Ivory.

"Will we play Chris Ivory more? That's a possibility," Ryan said. "Like I said, that doesn't change the fact that we believe in all three of our running backs."

New York Sports