You know that eye burn that comes with staring at your cellphone in the dark? The New York Jets' offense has the same effect on people. There's no explosiveness, no creativity, which makes it hard to watch. The Jets need an energy boost.
They need more of running back La'Mical Perine.
No disrespect to Frank Gore, an all-time great who probably will have a bust in Canton, Ohio, one day, but it's time for coach Adam Gase to redistribute the workload in the backfield. Perine, who rushed three times for 17 yards in the latter stages of last Sunday's ugly loss to the San Francisco 49ers, should be a big part of the game plan on Sunday (4:05 p.m. ET, CBS) against the Indianapolis Colts.
The rookie has something called speed. Remember what that looked like? His NFL debut was a small sample size, but he got up to 17 mph on a 10-yard gain, easily the fastest run by any of the Jets' backs in two games, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.
Give Perine, 22, a chance. There's nothing to lose because, let's be honest, the offense can't get any worse.
Gase's affinity for Gore is well documented, but he also loves Perine's upside. Before the San Francisco game, Gase said, "I'd love to see this kid out there playing."
It turned out to be nine snaps, just a little taste, but an expanded role is the way to go. The timing is perfect. The Jets still have two games before Le'Veon Bell (hamstring) is eligible to return from injured reserve, a convenient window to give Perine at least a 50-50 split with Gore, 37, who became the oldest back in league history to have more than 20 rushes in a game.
If Gore has another workload like that, he might try to apply for AARP. The Jets can reevaluate the situation when Bell returns in Week 5, if then, but they need to be proactive in the meantime.
"He's a football junkie," Gase said of Perine. "And you know he loves everything. He likes being in meetings, he likes being on the field, he watches a ton of tape. Frank and [Bell] have done a great job with him as far as showing him the ropes, and that kid is built [from] the right stuff."
The Jets believe they got a steal when Perine, Florida's leading rusher last season, slipped to the fourth round (No. 120 overall). He ran a pedestrian 40-yard dash at the scouting combine (4.62 seconds) and never got a chance to improve it when pro days were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. In their evaluation of him, the Jets' scouts felt his 40 time wasn't indicative of his game speed.
Perine proved it in training camp, breaking a long run during an instrasquad scrimmage. A sprained ankle on Aug. 30 set him back, but he's healthy now, ready to contribute. As Jets quarterback Sam Darnold said, "Perine has been awesome. Super explosive. He has 'big play' written all over him."
The Jets should copycat the Indianapolis Colts on this one. When they lost RB1 Marlon Mack to an Achilles tendon injury, they handed the starting job to rookie Jonathan Taylor, a second-round pick from Wisconsin. In his first start, he ran 26 times for 101 yards and a touchdown.
Taylor was a no-brainer once Mack got hurt. Unlike the Colts, the Jets have an option in Gore (and Bell, when healthy), but that shouldn't deter the youth movement. The offense has produced only eight "explosive" plays -- runs of 10-plus yards and passes of 20-plus yards. The only team with fewer such plays is the Cincinnati Bengals (three).
Give "this kid" a chance.