Jets Position Battles: Running Back
By Alan Schechter
Jan 17, 2010; San Diego, CA, USA; New York Jets running backs coach Anthony Lynn gestures on the sidelines during the 2010 AFC Divisional playoff game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. The Jets defeated the Chargers 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE
As we head towards training camp, we look at some of the position battles coming up. Anthony Lynn has a lot to look at, as the depth chart has gotten crowded:
INCUMBENT STARTER: SHONN GREENE
Here is the one spot that is set, despite his inconsistency. Greene is the starter, and he took the reigns full time last year. He did rush for 1,054 yards and 6 TDs, with a 4.2 yard per carry average. He hasn’t, however. shown the explosiveness that he was expected to show. Especially in the 2009 playoffs, where he led the NFL in rushing, he showed big things in a secondary role, but last year, only rushed for 2 100 yard games. He leaves many still unconvinced that he can carry the full load, making it of the utmost importance for the Jets to have a quality backup.
INCUMBENT BACKUP: JOE MCKNIGHT
After not really having his head in the right place in the 2010 camp we watched on television, McKnight became the second string RB to Greene. McKnight has become a major factor in the kick return game, but hasn’t made significant waves in the running game yet. After averaging 4.8 yards per carry in a small workload in 2010, he only rushed for 3.1 yards per carry on 43 carries in 2011. The 2nd string running back position should be a wide open battle this summer.
THE COMPETITION: BILAL POWELL
Powell is a bit undersized at 5’10” 204 pounds, but is a factor in the competition. While in school at Louisville, Powell did rush for 5.4 yards per carry to go along with 19 TDs, and is a guy to be watched. He only was able to amass 13 carries in 2011 for 21 yards, so we haven’t seen much of what this guy has got yet.
THE COMPETITION: TERRANCE GANAWAY
Don’t count this guy out, Ganaway is a guy that the Jets are very, very high on. They chose the Baylor running back with one of their 6th round picks in this year’s draft, and this 6’1″ 240 pound running back gives a lot to love. He his a hard nosed, tough running back, with a nose for the end zone. He scored 21 TDs in 2011 to go along with 1,547 rushing yards, so the guy has much talent. He doesn’t catch a lot of passes, which will need to improve, but he doesn’t fumble, which the Jets will love. He could very well break camp as a short yardage back, and maybe evolve into a third down back if his hands improve.
OUR PROJECTED DEPTH CHART
- Shonn Greene
- Joe McKnight
- Terrance Ganaway
- Bilal Powell
I think behind Greene, Ganaway won’t add enough in the passing game to jump over McKnight on the depth chart, yet. Watch, he might do so eventually. But, I believe Ganaway with his size will be a short yardage back in 2012, that will get tough third and short opportunities, as well as chances near the end zone. McKnight will remain the number 2 for now, and Powell won’t show enough to come up higher than fourth string.