The Jets Should Still Talk to Tim Hightower
By Alan Schechter
A worthy candidate to complement Shonn Greene? I think so, if he's healthy. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE
(Note: This is a reprint of a previous post, with some updating being at a later date than the original. I still feel it’s true so here it goes again.)
The Jets need depth at running back, that has been discussed at length. Shonn Greene needs a healthy complement, in order to be most effective. He has not show he can be a 300+ carry type of guy. Here on cut day, a guy has been released that would help the Jets. If he’s healthy, that guy is Tim Hightower.
One would say, “Why Tim Hightower? He hasn’t had a lot of success, and he is coming off ACL surgery!” I agree with that to a point. He would absolutely have to get some serious medical clearance, be worked out…etc., before they could offer him a deal. To the success issue, I say, take a hard look at his stats and see the success that he has had.
Look at the ground and pound offense when it has been at it’s best with the Jets. It has been at it’s best with an active pass catcher out of the backfield. Whether it has been Thomas Jones or LaDainian Tomlinson, this has been a key outlet for Mark Sanchez to be successful.
Shonn Greene has not been that guy, with only 46 catches so far in his young career. When Tim Hightower has played a full season, which he did in his first three, he averaged 40 catches per season. 40 catches! In 2009, Hightower had more receptions(63), than Greene has recorded in his career to date(46). This is the type of weapon needed to bring the ground and pound back to life.
He also, I believe, can take the load if Shonn Greene is not running well. In his two full years as a starting running back for the Arizona Cardinals, Hightower averaged 4.5 yards per carry, compared to Shonn’s 4.2 yard average as a starter.
Before falling to his ACL injury, Tim Hightower played in 5 games in the first seven, rushing for 321 yards. Shonn Greene played in all seven games, only rushing for 105 more yards than Hightower(426). In each of their full years as a starter, Hightower in 2010, and Shonn Greene in 2011, they recorded an equal number of 100 yard performances (2).
Take a look at this guy when he was healthy:
He is coming off a major injury, no doubt about it. He would have to have complete medical clearance from the team in order to even consider this. But, I say, he is explosive, if healthy, and can make catches out of the backfield. I wouldn’t give him big money, but if they can give him a small base, with incentives and a signing bonus, I say it’s a good choice.
Cheap, and could pay dividends. Go for it and give it a shot.