New York Jets Need Big Plays in Their Backfield and More AFC East News

Erik FrenzSenior Writer ISeptember 5, 2012

Aug. 18, 2011; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) hands the ball off to running back Bilal Powell (29) against the New York Giants during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Giants won 26-3. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

If the New York Jets are going to implement a ground-and-pound style of offense, they'll need to get some big plays out of the backfield.  They continue to search for a running back that can provide that spark. 

The recent news (via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News) that running back Bilal Powell has beat out Joe McKnight for third-down responsibilities is only another indication that the Jets aren't sure of what they have.

How could they be? Powell is, after all, entering just his third year as a "full-time" running back after spending time at both running back and defensive back at Louisville. He had one productive year in college before the Jets took a chance on him in the fourth round in the 2011 draft.

McKnight, on the other hand, enters his fourth year in the NFL after a productive career at USC. One would hope that he would have found his place on the roster by now. He has been productive as a kick returner, but overall a disappointment as a running back.

The Jets lack of development of offensive weapons has made life difficult for quarterback Mark Sanchez and the Jets' offense. Powell has been solid this preseason, so the Jets are hoping that putting the ball in his hands will help make things a bit easier for their quarterback. But with so little to go on, can they really be sure?

One thing they know for sure is that they need to get more big plays out of their backfield. They finished tied for 24th in the NFL with just seven runs of 20 yards or longer last year, and didn't have a single run of 40 yards or longer.

Here's some more news around the AFC East.


Buffalo Bills

Jerry Sullivan of The Buffalo News gives his season preview, with a bold prediction for the Bills' final record at the end of the article.

According to Chris Brown of, the Bills placed cornerback Ron Brooks on injured reserve and brought back wide receiver Ruvell Martin.


New England Patriots

Field Yates of ESPN Boston gives his quick-hit evaluations of the Patriots' offensive linemen.

Greg Bedard of The Boston Globe gives us a look at the "load" package (three tight ends, one wide receiver, one running back), with a play that the Patriots have run out of it before.


Miami Dolphins

Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald says that the release of quarterback David Garrard indicates just how much of a waste of time the 2012 free agency period was for the Dolphins.

Bleacher Report Dolphins featured columnist Scott Altman gives his game-by-game predictions for the Dolphins season.


New York Jets

Brian Costello of the New York Post gives Jets fans reasons to take their finger off the panic button.

Conor Orr of the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger runs down the Jets moves from Tuesday: releasing punter T.J. Conley, signing punter Robert Malone and bringing back defensive tackle Marcus Dixon.


Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand.