Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/28/13
How a running back falls might not seem like the most obvious measure of his effectiveness. His goal after all is to not get tackled. But when Jets running backs coach Anthony Lynn analyzes his players he watches how they finish runs. This often indicates how well they began the play. When a running back finishes a run correctly he falls at an angle that lets Lynn know he did not hesitate while hitting the hole created by his offensive line. "When a running back is decisive he normally finishes falling forward" Lynn said. "When a running back is indecisive is when he gets knocked back or falls sideways." This decisiveness — the unwillingness to second-guess any move on the field or off it — is the biggest reason Bilal Powell is blossoming this season. Powell whom the Jets drafted in the fourth round in 2011 got his most prominent opportunity to show his progress in last Sunday’s victory over Buffalo. Powell and Chris Ivory split carries in the first two games — 25 for Powell 22 for Ivory — but when Ivory left the Bills game with a hamstring injury after four carries Powell finished by showing how convincingly he finishes. Powell totaled 27 carries for 149 yards surpassing his previous career highs of 19 and 78. In the second half he ran 17 times for 109 yards including gains of 13 14 21 and 27. Of his 149 yards 83 came after contact. His 114 yards after contact for the season rank 10th in the NFL according to ProFootballFocus.com. Being decisive with his initial cut has been Powell’s most significant improvement since he entered the NFL he said. He will get another chance to showcase his progress tomorrow when the Jets play at Tennessee because Ivory is out with his hamstring injury. "Finishing forward that prominent physicality of: ‘Hey I’m not going to go backwards I’m going to finish forward’ — it’s huge" right tackle Austin Howard said. "It’s a huge momentum booster for us as offensive linemen." Right guard Willie Colon called it "an attitude thing" and said that even though Powell isn’t the Jets’ biggest running back — at 204 pounds he is 18 pounds lighter than Ivory — he finishes runs better than any of them. That’s largely because Powell "kind of has a knack for knowing where the hole is going to be" Colon said.
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