Who will start Week 1 in the backfield for the Jets remains a mystery. 

At this point in the offseason, running back appears to be one of the most uncertain positions on the depth chart. New York will look for unproven backs like Ty Johnson, La’Mical Perine, and rookie Michael Carter to make an impact. 

There is one runner on the roster, however, who Gang Green will depend on not only for consistent production, but also for his leadership. That man is Tevin Coleman.

Being the sole veteran presence at the position, the former all-American at Indiana will play a key role for his new team. He has played in a Kyle Shanahan-style wide zone scheme since 2015, giving him a strong understanding of the offense that the Jets will implement this season. 

Having worked with offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur in Atlanta and San Francisco, and overlapped with head coach Robert Saleh for three seasons, he knows the mentality that the coaching staff expects from players. He has already made a strong effort to teach young players the ropes. 

“I’m getting those young dudes right. [I’m] trying to get them right with the standard and get them right with how to practice and how Robert [Saleh] wants things,” said Coleman in a press conference Thursday. 

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Leadership is not all that Saleh believes the Illinois native will bring to the table. He raved about Coleman in his own appearance before the media last week. 

“He’s pure gas,” said Saleh. “When he gets the ball in his hands and makes that one cut, it looks like he’s shot out of a cannon. He’s got tremendous speed, he’s got a tremendous mindset when the ball is in his hands, in terms of breaking tackles, falling forward, creating positive yardage. He represents what we covet.” 

Why Tevin Coleman Will Be More Valuable to the Jets Than You Think

After struggling with a multitude of injuries last season, Coleman told reporters he feels completely healthy, insisting that he has “a lot left in my tank.” Jets management will hope that Coleman is right, as a strong running game is a fundamental part of the new offense. 

As the 28-year-old pointed out in his presser, the scheme relies on a consistent rushing attack to win games, in large part because of its ability to open up the pass game. 

Making life easier for Zach Wilson is a big key to success for the Jets this fall, and a bounce-back season from Coleman would take immense pressure off the rookie quarterback. Considering the impact that New York’s newest tailback will have on and off the field, a $2 million price tag this season likely will feel like a major win. 

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