Chris Ivory breakdown: Jags beat reporter dishes out what to expect from new Bills running back
For the second time in as many weeks, the Buffalo Bills have added a free agent before free agency opens.
Running back Chris Ivory was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars and soon after visited the Bills. It was his first team visit, just like cornerback Vontae Davis this offseason. Both left without a contract and returned to sign one.
But Ivory, 29, has had an interesting career. After great totals with the New York Jets, he was less than spectacular with the Jags the past two seasons. With that, we chatted with Phil Heilman, Jags beat reporter for the Florida Times-Union, to learn more about Ivory:
– Let’s keep it simple to start, what’s the good about Ivory’s game?
He still seems to get the yardage that is available most of the time. He’s a capable downhill runner when he gets going and is solid at catching screens and turning them into nice gains. So, he can still be productive with 10-12 touches per game.
– On the flip, what’s the bad?
I’m not sure what the numbers say, but he always had a rap here of someone who was a turnover risk. Fumbles and such. He’s not really “great” at anything at this point. His pass protection was questionable. Didn’t seem to really be a natural at that. Always seemed a play away from a hamstring pull although he didn’t miss a ton of games or anything.
– At the end of the season, Ivory was a healthy scratch. What happened?
[Leonard] Fournette was obviously the No. 1 and Yeldon is a good third-down back because he’s good in pass protection and can run more routes. Ivory doesn’t play special teams, so Corey Grant also kept a spot over him. When those three were healthy, ivory didn’t really have a distinguishable role.
– Having mentioned Fournette, Ivory will definitely be a second-string with the Bills too, with LeSean McCoy here. How accepting was he of that role?
Ivory is a quiet guy. He talked after a couple of games but declined more often. He didn’t seem to be a malcontent or upset about his role but he made it clear he felt he could do more. If I remember correctly, he was pretty solid in one of the games Fournette missed. My guess is Ivory wants to be somewhere where he can at least work in a rotation. He probably knows his days as a workhorse are over.
– We chat, Phil. When Ivory visited, you mentioned to me that you thought he’d be a good fit here in Buffalo. Elaborate on that.
Buffalo seems like a good fit because the Bills always seem to utilize and get the most out of (most of) Shady’s backups. That seems like a defined (but somewhat limited) role that would suit where Ivory is at considering where he’s at in his career.