Oh boy, that LaDainian Tomlinson sure looks good! But what happened to the guy who was supposed to be the team’s new feature back, Shonn Greene? Looks like a lot of things.
Shonn had a rough start to the season, fumbling twice and losing one of them on just five carries against the stout Baltimore Ravens’ defense. The whole offense looked bad that day, but Greene took the blame for the loss upon his shoulders. There was some confusion over whether he was benched, and if so by whom, but the bottom line is that he hardly saw any action in the second half of that game, and Tomlinson has since become the man.
LaDainian is averaging 5.6 yards per carry to Shonn’s 3.5. On the surface, that’s pretty ugly. What’s happened is that team’s are prepared for Greene this year after his breakout performance in the playoffs last year when he led all NFL rushers in the postseason. When the opposing defense sees him in the lineup, they expect a run up the gut and frequently get what they expected. LT is seeing a much different look, as teams are starting to respect the pass from Mark Sanchez more, and they respect Tomlinson as a receiver. The result is wider rushing lanes, and the opportunities for big runs on draw plays.
This week the Jets face an 0-3 Bills team that looks like just what Dr. Greene would’ve ordered up for himself. The Bills have been worse against the run than against the pass this year, and where the Jets really want Greene to shine is beating teams up (and eating clock up) in the second half of games. If the Jets can take control of what should be a lesser opponent in the Bills (it’s a big if, as the Bills are always a headache for the Jets), expect to see a lot more of Shonn Greene than we’ve seen so far this year. This could easily be the game where Greene surpasses LT in carries, and breaks 100 yards for the first time this season.
Which is what the Jets want.
LT has been great but he is over the RB hill at 31 years of age, and the Jets want him to be producing as well as he has been so far at the end of the year, too. Remember the wall Thomas Jones hit at the end of last season? You can bet the Jets do. Ideally Greene will carry the bulk of the load this week, and get himself out of his funk and back on the star track he looked to be on at the end of last year.