The New York Jets sought improvements to the 31st-ranked rushing attack in yards and touchdowns, bringing in Frank Gore on a one-year deal to help out highly-paid starter Le'Veon Bell. While Gore is turning 37 this year, Jets head coach Adam Gase isn't going to keep the oldest running back in the league in a reserve role. Gore is in New York to improve the Jets running back situation, which involves a significant role in the offense.
"I think he's a good teammate especially the last three or four years in that backup role and the supporting role of whoever that starter is," Gase said, via the Jets website. "He's a great guy for Le'Veon to be around. Those two guys can really do some damage together.
"We have two guys that can play all three downs. They both have outstanding skillsets. There's a little bit of difference in their running style and how they do things, but we know Frank really well and we know how to use them."
Gase was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins when Gore was there in 2018. Gore rushed for 722 yards on 156 carries at the age of 35 (his 4.6 yards per carry average was his highest since 2012) with no scores. Gore led the Dolphins in carries, but split the running back duties with Kenyan Drake, who had 120 carries for 535 yards and four touchdowns. Gase could reverse Gore's role with the Jets, having him record over 100 carries but limit his touches in order to keep the 37-year-old back fresh throughout the year.
Bell struggled in his first season in New York, carrying the ball 245 times for 789 yards and three touchdowns (career-low 3.2 yards per carry). Behind one of the worst offensive lines in the league, Bell struggled to get anything going past the line of scrimmage -- as 19.6% of his carries failed to gain positive yardage. The Jets revamped their offensive line this offseason to help Bell, adding George Fant, Connor McGovern, Greg Van Roten, and Josh Andrews in free agency and using a first-round pick on Mekhi Becton and a fourth-round pick on Cameron Clark.
Adding Gore is a much-needed boost to the Jets offense, but Gase also sees his value to the team outside of game day. That's worth taking a chance on a running back heading into his late 30s.
"This guy goes in practice like it's 'Monday Night Football,'" Gase said. "That's how Frank has always operated. He's never taken anything for granted. I think the biggest mistake most people make is they doubt him and they tell him something that he can't do whether it was injury, age or whatever the circumstance may be. He's proven people wrong time and time again."