Still Believe in Shonn Greene


Sept 9, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Shonn Greene (23) runs with the ball during the first half of their game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLIfe Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

A big focus when watching the New York Jets every week is the running attack. Since the moment Rex Ryan arrived, the team has been geared towards running and defense. The 2012 New York Jets have been no exception. The addition of coordinator Tony Sparano has brought a recomittment to a physical attack on offense. The focus of that attack? Shonn Greene.

Shonn Greene has been a guy under fire with the Jets, especially since 2011, when he became the number one back for the Jets. Prior to 2011, he always had a strong veterman presence behind him, namely Thomas Jones and LaDainian Tomlinson. In 2011, the show was basically all Shonn Greene, and although he finished with over 1,000 yards, there were still the lingering questions as to whether or not Greene can carry the load with the Jets.

The Jets came under fire as well, for not adding running back depth to help Shonn Greene. The one back they did add (Terrance Ganaway) did not make the football team. And yes, it’s a worthy question, as Shonn Greene has had an up and down first couple of weeks of the 2012 season. However, if you look at the numbers, and look at them closely, Greene can be a number one back.

He must get the requisite amount of touches. Specificially, he must have over 20 carries per game.

Sept. 9, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Shonn Greene (23) fends off Buffalo Bills linebacker Kelvin Sheppard (55) during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Jets won 48-28. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

The key to the success will be the offensive line, and the ability to control the game up front. If the Jets are controlling things up front, they can run the ball all game. Shonn Greene must have 20 carries or more, and if he does, he will be the number back we all want to see. Let’s look at the numbers.

Here are Shonn’s numbers for his career(incl. playoffs), when he carried the ball 20 or more times:

  • 2009 Wild Card: 21 carries, 135 yards, 1 TD
  • 2009 Divisional Playoff: 23 carries, 128 yards, 1 TD
  • 2010 Week 4: 22 carries, 117 yards
  • 2010 Week 10: 20 carries, 72 yards
  • 2011 Week 5: 21 carries, 83 yards, 1 TD
  • 2011 Week 6: 21 carries, 74 yards
  • 2001 Week 7: 20 carries, 112 yards
  • 2011 Week 13: 22 carries, 88 yards, 3 TD
  • 2011 Week 14: 24 carries, 129 yards, 1 TD
  • 2012 Week 2: 27 carries, 94 yards, 1 TD

Taking these games together, it comes to an average of 22 carries, 103 yards per game.  If you project that out over a 16 game season, here is what you come up with for Shonn Greene’s stats:

352 carries, 1,648 yards.

That by the way, would have made Shonn Greene the NFL rushing leader in 2011, with a small lead over Maurice Jones-Drew.  Yes, different teams, different offensive lines, etc.  This doesn’t mean that these numbers would play out exactly this way.

The point of this, some running backs need the ball early, and often to get a feel for the line, and for the game.  Some backs just don’t get that type of feel during a game where they are going to go off with only 8-10 carries.

Is he Adrian Peterson?  No.  Is he Maurice Jones-Drew?  Of course not.  But if you give Shonn Greene the rock, and you keep giving him the rock, he will put up numbers.  Look above, he already has.  The numbers don’t lie.