Sunday, September 22, 2013
Bilal Powell runs big with Ivory injured
By Jane McManus
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Bilal Powell is steady as a running back, but not flashy, and his ability to blend in means that he hasn’t always gotten the accolades he has earned. When the New York Jets brought in Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson, it looked as though the dependable Powell was getting pushed to the margins.
But when the Jets' running game is in a bind, Powell never seems to hold the lack of appreciation against them.
In a 27-20 win against the visiting Bills, Powell took over when Ivory injured his hamstring during the first quarter. Powell had 149 yards on 27 carries. Impressive numbers, but asked if being the Jets No. 1 meant anything, Powell was characteristically modest.
“I just want to win,” the 5-foot-10, 204-pound Powell said. “I just want to come in and work hard every day and do anything that I can in my control to help this team win.”
Powell’s teammates could be effusive where the running back was demure.
“BP Is great,” center Nick Mangold said. “It’s always difficult when you’ve got a guy who’s quiet, because it’s very difficult to get a read on him, BP is a very quiet guy, but he studies, he prepares like no one else. (He’s) Very good in protections and he’s got that lightning-quick speed. And you combine them and you can do good things. It was good to see him get the yardage that he did today.”
The Jets also put in running back Alex Green, who they grabbed off waivers when Green Bay released him this month. Green was effectively the No. 2 back with 14 yards on 5 carries.
“I had a little bit more reps in practice, so I knew it was a possibility,” Green said. “But at the same time I wasn’t expecting to go in that early.”
Ivory declined to talk to reporters after the game, and left the locker with his upper left leg bandaged, and some wire visible underneath. The Jets traded a fourth-round pick to New Orleans for the 6-0, 222-pound back, who also had a hamstring injury in the first two weeks of training camp.
That’s when Powell got the majority of the practice reps for the team, so many that offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg was concerned that the team was over-using Powell.
Where Ivory has been injured, Powell, 24 and in his third year in the league, has been durable. The team still has Goodson, but he was suspended for the first four games of the season after an offseason arrest involving an illegal gun and marijuana.
Jets coach Rex Ryan didn’t have an update on Ivory’s hamstring but, whether or not Ivory plays next week, Powell will likely be there, and be ready to go.