If the New York Jets drafted a diamond in the rough in running back Le’Mical Perine, they have not seen it yet. In last week’s loss at the Miami Dolphins, the fourth-round pick out of Florida was not an active part of the offense.
At 0-6, it is puzzling that the Jets aren’t pushing forward with developing Perine a bit more. Especially since the rookie reportedly showed well in training camp.
“I know there’s going to be mistakes,” Jets head coach Adam Gase said Wednesday. “But I know he’s doing everything he can to do the right thing, and it’s just, ‘Hey we’ve got to clean up the technique thing’ or, ‘Hey, when you’ve got to take on this blocker or this blitzer do it this way instead of getting turned where now that guy can shoot up the field.’ There’s just some little technique things we’ve just got to keep working with him and just loosen up play.”
Perine was on the field for 41 plays Sunday in Miami. Still, he only carried the ball seven times for 27 yards. Veteran Frank Gore played five fewer plays than Perine but had four more carries for 46 yards (Gore had a total of 11 carries while also adding four catches for 24 yards).
“They believe in me,” Gore said Sunday when asked about the loss of starter Le’Veon Bell. “They believe in Perine. They know I’ve been having success in this league for a long time. They see me in practice. They saw me in training camp they know I can play. They see Perine taking a step as a rookie.”
Gase said he wanted to work backup Ty Johnson into the mix as well. Johnson had three carries for 42 yards in the Week 6 loss, including a 34-yard-run in the second half that was the longest rush for the Jets in the game. The run by Johnson was longer than any run Le’Veon Bell had during Bell’s 17-game Jets career.
The 5-foot-11, 216 pound Perine had a 13-yard carry to end the first half that accounted for nearly half of his rushing total. He also dropped a pass in the second quarter that would have been a nice gain.
“If you make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world,” Gase said. “We’ll move on, we’ll correct it, we’ll keep getting you in there. I think the more he plays, he’ll relax and he’ll play fine.”
Gase said he tried to read the body language of his running backs when deciding who should get the carries, but he hinted that he’ll look for Perine to increase his workload moving forward.