A Fix for the 2012 Jets Running Game


Oct 8, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets coach Rex Ryan (left) and running back Shonn Greene (23) react after the game against the Houston Texans at MetLife Stadium. The Texans defeated the Jets 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Any followers of the Jet Press know that I have been a supporter of Shonn Greene. Despite his poor performance, and the growing frustration amongst Jets fans with his play, I have continued to say that the Jets should roll with this guy. My position has been that if you give this guy the ball enough times, Shonn Greene will get the job done. However, Monday night, I couldn’t take it anymore. The constant 2-3 yards is frustrating me to no end, and I believe I sent out “Shonn Greene sucks” via Twitter during the game. He finished the Monday night game with 8 carries for 26 yards, 12 of those yards coming on one play. “He’s not getting it done” is the understatement of the year.

The Jets need to improve the running game, now. The first instinct is that the Jets should just get rid of Shonn Greene. Part ways with the guy, he stinks. That was where I was going after Monday’s game as well, but there is an alternative. The alternative will fix the running game, and make better use of the skill set of the current Jets’ running backs.


The consistent runs of 2-3 yards on first down for Shonn Greene make every fan of the Jets sick to their stomach. Shonn Greene has been predictable, slow, and God-awful. 99% of the time, Greene has been leaving the Jets with second and long, and/or third and long. Shonn, as the leader of the Jets running attack, is not the right answer. He has been terrible, and is not showing any signs of improving. The Jets have to make a change before the running game is grounded for the rest of 2012.

Oct 8, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow (15) hands the ball to New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) during the first half at MetLIfe Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE

During the Rex Ryan era, the running attack has been at its best when it has been a two headed attack. Whether it was Shonn Greene/Thomas Jones or Shonn Greene/LaDainian Tomlinson, the Jets attack excelled when they had a 1A/1B runner. We don’t know if they have a 25 carry per game guy on the roster in Bilal Powell, or Joe McKnight, so let’s give the reigns to both of them.

Shonn Greene is a brusing running back, that needs holes. The offensive line is not creating holes in the running game right now, so they need guys that are fast and can make people miss. With a 3.9 yard per carry average on the season, Bilal Powell has shown a lot more burst than Shonn Greene so far. In two out of the Jets first 5 games, Powell has averaged 4.5 yards per carry. But, we don’t know if he can do it all game. You have a guy in Joe McKnight that is fast. We have seen it in the return game, and once in a while on the offense. This guy is a playmaker, get him involved.

Give Powell and McKnight, 10-15 carries per game each, and let’s see what we have in these guys.

So how do the Jets include Greene? Turn the page and I will tell you.

Oct 8, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Shonn Greene (23) is tackled by Houston Texans safety Glover Quin (29) during the second half at MetLIfe Stadium. The Texans defeated the Jets 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE


One thing Shonn Greene CAN do, and do well, is get a tough few yards. He does run for 3-4 yards per carry, he just does it on first down. Even when he breaks a big run, he is not a guy that makes a lot of people miss tackles. Take a look at the 12 yard run that Greene broke on Monday night. What did Jon Gruden say? He talked about how Shonn Greene finishes his runs. How he lowers his shoulders and delivers a hit. Keep that in mind as I move to the next point.

On the very next play after the 12 yard run, the Jets made a brilliant play call of a screen pass. The pass rush had been coming hard, and a screen pass is a great way to slow that down. The Jets execute one to perfect, and get the ball to Shonn Greene in space. To his credit he does take the ball for a 19 yard gain. But, a faster runner could have gained a lot more. Greene didn’t make anyone miss, on a run that probably could have gone for 30-40 yards. Imagine the yardage a guy like McKnight could have gained on the play.

We’ve seen the Jets fail in short yardage situations this season. We have seen guys like John Conner unable to pick up a yard on 4th and 1. A professional football team should be able to pick up a yard on the ground. Why not bring a guy like Shonn Greene in the game, solely for short yardage situations? Use Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight for the balance of the game, and bring in Shonn Greene for short yardage. His brusing, driving type of running style can make 3 yards happen on a 4th and one. It would be a perfect use for his skill set.

Maybe it’s not a long term fix, but it would be the best use for the current running backs’ skill set.