Veteran running back Tevin Coleman is providing the Jets with much more than just a few carries each day during training camp.
Coleman, entering his seventh season in the NFL, is giving the youngsters in New York's running back room a mentor to lean on, a presence off the field that will be beneficial once it's time for the regular season to begin.
Speaking about his first few practices with the team during training camp, Jets' fourth-rounder Michael Carter opened up about Coleman's impact, calling the veteran a "big bro."
"Tev understands this league," Coleman said. "He's been around, he's going into year seven. He understands where I'm at right now and he understands where I'm coming from."
It also helps that Coleman is familiar with head coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur from their time together in San Francisco. Coleman is already an expert with this type of offense, a scheme that uses a mix of multiple running backs.
Carter made it clear, however, that Coleman can be more of a resource than this coaching staff at times, acknowledging that he'd be a fool not to pick the veteran's brain.
"Sometimes you don't want to ask a coach a question," Carter explained. "Sometimes I'd rather ask Tevin because he's been in the game. He's been in those shoes. He's been in that fourth quarter with three minutes left and he knows the emotions."
New York's running back room also includes 2020 fourth-rounder La'Mical Perine, along with Josh Adams and Ty Johnson, players seeking to earn more playing time leading into the preseason.
Asked specifically about Carter, Coleman said he's been impressed with how quickly the North Carolina product has picked up the plays in this complicated system, showcasing his skills and dedication to his craft thus far.
"He's not really making mistakes out there. He's running the ball good, he's catching the ball good, his routes are looking good, he's doing real good," the veteran said. "Definitely powerful. And he's got good speed, good quickness. He's looking pretty good."
If a mix of Carter, Coleman and the other faces in that room can continue to gel, taking advantage of opportunities created by a strong offensive line, New York's offense will be that much better this season.
After all, in this type of system, the running game is critical to the success of the passing game, contributing to the development of rookie quarterback Zach Wilson.
"To be a good offense, I truly believe you've got to lean on the run game, whether you have a rookie quarterback or a veteran quarterback," LaFleur said. "That's going to be critical for [Wilson] going forward."
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