Breaking down the New York Jets' roster, unit by unit, in preparation for training camp, which begins July 29:
Position: Running back
Projected starter: Matt Forte
Top storyline: It's a bit misleading to list Forte as the starter because, from all indications, he and Powell will share the workload. And that's the way it should be, considering their skill sets and the current NFL landscape. Running backs coach Stump Mitchell says his goal is for each player to average 100 yards per game from scrimmage, which suggests Forte and Powell will be fed the ball a lot -- on the ground and through the air. If the Jets hope to exceed the dire forecasts for the season, they'll need strong years out of both players.
Player to watch: Powell earned the chance to continue what he started last December. With Forte banged up, Powell ran for 411 yards over the final four games, trailing only Le'Veon Bell (451) and Jordan Howard (430) over that span. Nearly half of Powell's yards (172) came after first contact, showing he's more than just a change-of-pace runner who relies on elusiveness. Because he was under-utilized for most of the year, he had fresh legs for the homestretch. Can he be that productive over a 16-game haul?
Wild card: Offensive coordinator John Morton is the wild card. With some common sense, he should be able to manage the backs better than the previous offensive staff, which ran Forte into the ground but never let him do what he does best -- catch passes on third down. Forte was befuddled by the way he was used. He and Powell have similar skill sets, so they're considered interchangeable. Instead of pigeonholing them into specific roles, Morton will change it up, creating an element of unpredictability. This offense needs all the help it can get because it won't be able to out-talent opponents.
Training camp will be a success if ...: A reliable No. 3 option emerges. That means McGuire, a sixth-round pick from Louisiana-Lafayette. At 5-foot-10, 214 pounds, he's similar in body type to Powell. "I like everything [about him]," Mitchell said. "He's got great hands. As a third-down back or simply a back, he can catch the ball extremely well. He has good vision and a good ability to make cuts. He's a student of the game and good in the classroom." Chances are, they will need him at some point. He'll get a ton of reps in the preseason.
By the numbers: Forte is 31 years old and he has accumulated a lot of mileage over the years. It's fair to wonder how much he has left. He averaged only 3.73 yards per carry last season, 34th out of 42 qualifying running backs. It's a young man's position, so Forte's reps should be monitored.