January 27, 2022

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Jets’ Michael Carter reflects on rookie season,…

3 min read
Jets' Michael Carter reflects on rookie season,...


It’s not unusual to hear an athlete say he or she wants to be the best. It’s something of a rarity, though, to hear one acknowledge the title is abstract. 

But there was Jets rookie running back Michael Carter on Friday afternoon, expounding on big goals — with a caveat. 

“My ultimate goal is to be the best in the league,” Carter said. “It’s not easy, obviously, to be the best in the league. Also, that’s a pretty subjective thing. 

“I’m just trying to compete every day and do better at everything, cause no one’s ever gonna be perfect. I’m striving for perfection, knowing that I’m never gonna reach it.” 

Carter, 13 games into his NFL career, gives off the air of a player simultaneously holding supreme confidence in his ability and some perspective in how far he still has to go. Speaking ahead of the Jets’ final game of the season, Sunday at Buffalo, Carter said “I can do it all” and then said he doesn’t feel like “even the same player” he was in Week 1. 

Michael Carter feels like he's a different player from the start of his rookie season.
Michael Carter feels like he’s a different player from the start of his rookie season.
Getty Images

“I think I had 6 yards in my game [in Week 1],” Carter said of his performance Sept. 12 against the Panthers. “And that’s like, ‘Wow, can’t believe that.’ I still can’t believe that. I’ve grown so much. We’ve gotten closer together as a team. … I think it comes down to us growing together. 

“As far as myself, just building that confidence each week. My confidence is honestly really high. Sometimes higher than it should be.” 

Late in the season, though, that confidence has been warranted. Carter has found his footing in the NFL, rushing for 118 yards in Week 16 against the Jaguars and going for 54 yards on three carries before getting hurt last week against the Buccaneers. 

“Hate that I couldn’t finish the game last week,” he said. “But felt good to be back [this week].” 

Michael Carter had 54 rushing yards on three carries before getting hurt last week against the Buccaneers.
Michael Carter had 54 rushing yards on three carries before getting hurt last week against the Buccaneers.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Though the game Sunday holds no meaning in the standings for the Jets (4-12), it will be a test for Carter. With receivers Braxton Berrios and Elijah Moore injured, and a cold, rainy environment awaiting in Buffalo, the Jets will lean on the rookie. 

“Being able to run the football is everything [in those conditions],” head coach Robert Saleh said. “Obviously anytime, it’s always gonna be important. There’s something about the run game that just wears on people and when you can do it, it makes it easier to play the game of football. It opens up everything else.” 

Carter, a native of the Florida panhandle, said he has never played in a bad weather game, but he wants to. He brought up former Eagles running back LeSean McCoy’s 217-yard performance in the snow against the Lions in 2013 as something that sticks with him. 

The forecast isn’t calling for snow Sunday in Orchard Park, so Carter won’t quite be able to replicate the scenes of that day in Philadelphia. But he’s looking forward to it nonetheless. 

Asked about looking ahead to the offseason, and the comfort of knowing his skill translates to the NFL, Carter redirected the focus to Buffalo. Last week, mostly without him, the Jets made something of a statement in a loss to Tampe Bay. 

This Sunday could be Carter’s turn to put people on notice. 

“When it comes down to it, this is January, playoff football,” Carter said. “The best teams in the world gotta be able to run the ball. That’s our goal. Stay with the run game. See how it goes from there.”

https://nypost.com/2022/01/07/jets-michael-carter-reflects-on-rookie-season-lofty-goals/