The Buffalo Bills have recently acquired running back Chris Ivory. Ivory is entering his ninth season for what will be his fourth team. He has had an up and down career that has seen serious flashes of greatness. Ivory has played for the New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, and most recently the Jacksonville Jaguars. Over his career, he has run for at least 700 yards four times. Ivory’s biggest problem is his issues with fumbling, but in 2017 Ivory only fumbled twice. This is less than Le’Veon Bell and Todd Gurley.
Ivory was signed in 2016 by Jacksonville coming off a stellar season with the Jets that saw him make the Pro Bowl. He hoped to become their premiere back and lead Jacksonville to the playoffs alongside Blake Bortles. Instead, he could never escape a committee in Jacksonville and eventually Jacksonville drafted Leonard Fournette who they made their premiere back and basically forgot about Ivory, unless Fournette was hurt or tired. Even with the emergence of Fournette this season, Ivory still had 400 yards and 2 touchdowns on the season. He also had to fight against a large usage of T.J Yeldon on passing downs.
Chris Ivory and Buffalo have a storied past. Ivory first took his career to the next level with their rivals, the New York Jets. In 2015 Ivory made his first Pro Bowl with the Jets rushing for over 1,000 yards and 7 touchdowns. Ivory spent three seasons with the Jets and in those three years, he ran for at least 800 yards. He also had 16 touchdowns in that time. Now Ivory is in Buffalo and is looking to help them with their goal of getting to the Super Bowl.
How Chris Ivory Will Help the Buffalo Bills
4. Fan Support
It is no secret that Buffalo Bills fans are a crazy bunch. The fans credited for starting the broken table movement love to get under the skin of opposing teams. One team that Bills fans have in their sights right now are the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars are the team that eliminated Buffalo from the 2017-18 playoffs. Acquiring a player from Jacksonville who was clearly displeased with how his time there went is just what Bills fans wanted. The Bills play the Jaguars at home this season and fans are clamoring for the rematch. Adding the prospect of Ivory punching in a goalline touchdown is enough to make you want to jump through a table tonight. Bills fans will be looking forward to this one all season long. Hopefully, this game will be sooner rather than later.
3. Solid 2nd String RB
In today’s NFL having one good running back isn’t necessarily enough for a successful offense. Many of the league’s premier offenses have two running backs that can perform at a high level. The Saints have Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara, the Jaguars had Fournette and Ivory, and the Falcons have Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman. With the addition of Chris Ivory, Buffalo can pair him with LeSean McCoy. Ivory is the perfect compliment back to Shady. While Shady can handle most of the work and all of the receiving work, Ivory can come in and finish off drives to keep McCoy durable throughout the season.
2. Improve McCoy’s Health
To further the point, McCoy has struggled with his health during his time in Buffalo. A large part of this is because Buffalo’s offense has relied heavily on him to play most of the snaps at RB. This past season was an improvement with the team utilizing Mike Tolbert often, but Tolbert didn’t produce when he was on the field. Ivory will assume Tolbert’s role and hopefully bring more production to the role. Keeping Shady rested and out of unnecessary plays and hits is key to his sustained success.
1. Redzone Offense Improvement
If there is one thing that a big back like Ivory brings to a team it’s red zone efficiency. LeSean McCoy, while being one of the league’s best running backs, isn’t the biggest player. The Bills tried bringing in a big back for the red zone with Tolbert, but he proved to be ineffective due to age and lack of experience as a true RB. Chris Ivory is not only experienced in the league but experienced at playing the role of a second string power back.
In the 2017-18 season, the Bills ranked 22nd in red zone scoring percentage when resulting in touchdowns. The Jaguars ranked first. Ivory makes the Bills better simply because of this reason. The Bills had multiple instances where they lost simply because they couldn’t score points. The wildcard game against Jacksonville is the biggest example. The Jaguars offense also struggled in the game and only scored 10 points. If Buffalo’s offense could score they would have easily defeated Jacksonville that day. With Ivory’s skills at the goal line, Buffalo’s ranking in 2018 will surely increase.
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