All-22 Film Study: Shonn Greene


Sep 16, 2012; Pittsburgh , PA, USA; New York Jets running back Shonn Greene (23) runs the ball against Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Mundy (29) during the first half of the game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-US PRESSWIRE

Shonn Greene is not without his detractors, that’s for sure. Many people knock Shonn, saying he can’t be the guy to carry the load, and that Bilal Powell should be the guy. People don’t think he will put up the numbers, that he can’t be the 20-25 carry per game running back that the Jets need.

I have always been a staunch supporter of Shonn Greene, and feel that he just needs to get the ball consistently, as illustrated in this article written earlier this week.  The numbers do bare out the fact that when Shonn gets the ball 20 times or more per game. Greene is the type of running back that gets better as he gets more carries. Check out my post from earlier this week and look at the numbers.

So, with all of the Shonn naysayers that are out there, I decided to look at some film on Shonn. When looking at the film, it becomes clear, the element of Shonn’s game that fans don’t like.

He is not elusive. Let me show you what I mean. We are going to look at a nine yard gain from the game against Pittsburgh.

The Jets are set up in an interesting formation here. Greene is straight behind Sanchez, with John Conner to the left, and Jeff Cumberland in the backfield to the right. The play, as you will see in a second, is perfect. The linebacker is sneaking up to the line just to the right of Sanchez, showing blitz. So the Jets run a delayed handoff to Shonn Greene, where Mark drops back as if he is going to pass, and then gives to Greene instead. Let’s move forward.

Greene gets excellent blocking up front. John Conner gets a block on Lawrence Timmons in the backfield, and Jeff Cumberland moves into the role of lead blocker, making an excellent block in the hole to seal off the opening for Shonn to run through. Shonn moves untouched to the next level. Ryan Mundy is moving up from his deep safety position to provide run support. Here is where people have a problem with Greene. Turn the page to see what I mean.

OK, here we are with Shonn Greene getting to the next level, beyond the Pittsburgh defensive line. So far, as we have seen, Greene has been untouched on a well-designed play. Ryan Mundy has made his move to run support, and Greene is making his move, and they are set to go at it one on one. From here, is where people get frustrated with Greene. What people look for is for Greene to try and make Mundy miss. Looking at the picture, you see there might even be an opening if Shonn tries to juke to his right, Mundy’s left. It’s one on one, a missed tackle isn’t impossible with a juke move. What does Shonn do? Take a look.

Instead of trying to make Mundy miss, he lowers his head and goes right for the contact. Ultimately, the play ends in a nine yard gain, and Greene getting his “bell rung”. Maybe, it could have been a bigger gain had Shonn tried to make Mundy miss. People don’t like the fact that Greene doesn’t make people miss at the second level, instead, he looks for contact.

That’s the type of running back that Shonn Greene is. People are looking for Shonn to break off big runs like Maurice Jones-Drew or Adrian Peterson. They want him to make people miss, the way Curtis Martin made a career of avoiding contact. This would be, obviously, the way to break off big runs, and get his numbers up quickly.

That isn’t Shonn Greene. Shonn runs more like Jerome Bettis, who runs over people, rather than around. No, I am not saying that Greene is as good as Bettis, far from it. But the style they play with is similar. The thing about it, is that Greene’s style will never excite anybody. It’s not fun to watch a guy getting the smaller chunks of yardage. But, when you give him the ball enough times, Greene becomes an EFFECTIVE guy to watch.

Greene doesn’t do it pretty, no argument. But the numbers show that if you give him the ball, he does get the job done. Give Shonn Greene a chance, don’t give up on him yet.