There are a lot of questions about who will start at quarterback for the Jets this season, but whoever it is will need a lot of help from Isaiah Crowell.
It’s understandable that some Jets fans aren’t overly excited about signing a free agent away from the Cleveland Browns. They need to get excited about Isaiah Crowell though. His ability to effectively run the football is going to have a big impact on the Jets ability to win football games in 2018.
In many ways, Crowell is flying under the radar at the moment. Most media members and fans are still trying to wade their way through the Jets’ interesting group of quarterbacks. The team still isn’t close to choosing a starter between Josh McCown, Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater. Whoever lines up under center for Todd Bowles is going to need a lot of support from the run game.
Crowell is the team’s best option to produce big chunks of yards on a consistent basis. Bilal Powell will get some carries too, but the coaching staff clearly intends for Crowell to carry the load. That’s an exciting prospect for the former Browns running back.
Crowell found his uncertain role in Cleveland to be “discouraging and annoying.” Some weeks he was a big part of Hue Jackson’s game plan and some weeks he was an innocent bystander on the sidelines. The physical back should find a more consistent role in the Big Apple.
Todd Bowles brought him in to add “toughness” to his running back group. Backs with that quality generally thrive on getting more and more carries as the game goes on. That’s a philosophy the Jets will hope to utilize with Crowell.
The Jets will need to do everything they can to avoid putting a lot of pressure on their passing game. Uncertainty at quarterback coupled with a pretty weak wide receiver group makes that a dangerous possibility for Bowles and the coaching staff. The blueprint for success with the Jets this season will be to establish the run game early and then use it to keep the ball away from the opposition late.
That’s going to require Crowell to have a massive season. It will likely require the 6-foot-1, 225 pound power back to break the 1,000 yard mark for the first time in his career. He came close in 2016 with the Browns, but ended less than 50 yards short. A total of somewhere around 1,200 yards might be required to keep the team in playoff contention.
A potential rushing output like that should also get the attention of fantasy football owners. Crowell isn’t going to go early in drafts, but he could be a solid RB2 option in the later rounds. Sometimes acquiring a running back who will get consistent carries is just as important as finding one who can have a big week every now and then.
The bottom line is that Isaiah Crowell needs to have a big year for fantasy owners and the New York Jets. If he doesn’t, neither party is going to find themselves in the postseason.