Jets Veteran Runner Anticipates Big Challenge from Eagles Defense Caroline Hendershot
It's been a season of starts and stops for Tevin Coleman, but the veteran running back enters December fresh off his most productive game of the season.
"It definitely felt good to get back in that groove," Coleman said of his busy afternoon last Sunday in the Jets' 21-14 win over the Texans. "Earlier in the season I had a hamstring (injury), so I was still working through that, but it's feeling good and everything is going good."
Coleman, who was sidelined for three games before returning to the lineup in Week 10 against the Bills, led all Jets running backs with 16 rushing attempts and 67 yards in Houston. With leading rusher Michael Carter out with a low-grade high-ankle sprain, the Jets rushed for a season-high 157 yards in the win. In addition to Coleman's success on the ground, Ty Johnson added 42 yards on six carries and Austin Walter, a practice-squad elevation on Saturday, also contributed 38 yards on nine attempts.
"We've got a lot of depth in the backfield in running the ball, catching the ball and blocking," Coleman said. "So we are just working hard every day to make the run game come to life and the pass game come to life."
On Sunday at MetLife Stadium, the Jets will face an Eagles defense that has a formidable front and ranks 6th in the NFL in rush yards per play (3.99). Coleman (28) is the most experienced player in this system coordinated by Mike LaFleur as he worked with the Jets OC in both Atlanta (2015-16) and San Francisco (2019-20). He understands the transition and continues to see progress from a unit that has come on in the run game the past two games, ranking 9th in rush yards per game (129.5) and 6th in yards per rush (4.98) during that span.
"It definitely takes time with a new offense and this offense is so compact, hard, and has a lot of motions," Coleman said. "It takes time to learn all of that and get on the same page. But it's definitely clicking out there."
After securing their first road victory of the season, Coleman and the Jets are looking to string together their first consecutive wins this season. Head coach Robert Saleh's message hasn't changed regardless of the situation.
"We We've got to keep coming in here, working hard, staying on the details, and keep getting 1% better," Coleman said. "That's always what (Coach Saleh) talks about, getting 1% better, and that's what we try to do every single day."
In seven games this season, Coleman has totaled 185 yards on the ground and averaged 4.0 yards per carry. He figures to continue to be a key contributor in the backfield as the Jets move ahead in the short term minus Carter. With a rookie quarterback in Zach Wilson, who returned to the lineup last week for the first time in more than a month, balance will be key for a unit looking to stay ahead of the sticks and on schedule against the Eagles.
"It's definitely going to be tough to stop that D-line, but we have to keep working hard and getting our fits to run the ball successfully on them," Coleman said.