Throughout training camp, both Bilal Powell and Jermaine Kearse have carried a certain quiet confidence on the practice field that you would expect from a pair of established veterans who lead by example. So far, both have had quality camps, but it seems they’re rarely talked about when discussing the upcoming season. Powell at running back, and Kearse as a receiver, neither one is the “shiny new toy” on the roster, but both go about their business and get their respective jobs done.
Powell is in his 8th training camp with the Jets after logging a career high 178 carries last season. When speaking with reporters earlier in camp, the low-key Powell said, “I don’t say too much, man, I just come to work and whenever my number’s called, I just go out and take advantage of my opportunities.” This mindset is what makes Powell different from many other veteran running backs. He shies away from the spotlight, doesn’t make any bold predictions or proclamations and finds ways to make plays on the field.
With Isaiah Crowell entering his first season with the Jets, Powell will be splitting carries once again, but how those carries will be distributed is an unknown at this point. As Powell told reporters when discussing the current running back situation, “It’s way too early. We’re still trying to find our way as an offensive unit,” he said. “We just keep stacking the days and keep moving forward.”
Then there’s Jermaine Kearse. If Powell and Crowell can excel the running game, Kearse could have another career year after a 2017 season that saw him establish career highs in receptions (65) and yards (810) while tying his career high of five touchdowns.
The 7th year NFL pro makes one play after another in training camp, catching everything that comes his way, and has a professional approach that’s ideal for young players in the locker room to learn from. With Robby Anderson playing on the opposite side and likely drawing double-teams, the Jets passing attack has the potential to be dangerous in 2018.
As Teddy Bridgewater and Josh McCown handle the scout-team offense, Sam Darnold on a side field working with Jermaine Kearse and OC Jeremy Bates. Kearse will be key to Darnold’s development. Most experienced WR. #Jets
— Rich Cimini (@RichCimini) August 21, 2018
Kearse clearly sees the depth the Jets have at the receiver spot and discussed that earlier in the preseason, saying “We’ve got a lot of guys who compete, who make plays. What I really like is just the chemistry we have with each other. We know there’s a few spots to make the team, yet we encourage each other, we want to see each other succeed, and we try to push each other to be the best group that we can be.” Kearse is looking to push his peers to new heights, and create a new kind of passing attack for the Jets, something that could greatly benefit whoever lines up under center for the Jets this season.
It should come as no surprise that Powell and Kearse have shown themselves to be two of the strongest leaders on offense, and come September 10th, they’ll hope their professional approach will keep them flying under the radar, as the Jets hope to get their offense to take off.