Jets send message to Jones with Greene pick
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Jets head coach Rex Ryan is clearly trying to send a message to Thomas Jones, his disgruntled starting running back who has skipped all the team's offseason workouts in a contract dispute.
After drafting running back Shonn Greene out of Iowa with the first pick on the second day of the draft -- and investing extra draft picks to move up to do it -- Ryan talked about what impact he hopes Greene will have on Jones.
"We hope Shonn pushes Thomas a little bit, no question about it," said Ryan, moments after drafting Greene and passing on the opportunity to draft a wide receiver or tight end -- two areas of much greater need for the Jets. In fact, on Saturday the Jets tried to trade back into the first round to select wide receiver Percy Harvin of Florida but could not make the deal.
Ryan said Jones is making $900,000 this year, and "he's part of the solution." When asked if he planned to call Jones to encourage him to come into the Jets practice facility, Ryan answered with a quick "no, I'm not going to call him."
Greene said he was aware of Jones' situation.
"I'm not really worried about that," he said. "I'm just happy to be a Jet."
Greene said he will come to New York to "move the chains." Indeed, Ryan said he drafted Greene because of his size and durability.
"He's a man," said Ryan. "We want to pound and ground the ball, and he can do that."
Last year, Ryan's former team, the Baltimore Ravens, made it to the AFC Championship Game with a rookie quarterback, Joe Flacco, by primarily running the football. The Ravens led the NFL by rushing the ball on 56 percent of their offensive snaps in 2008, according to Stats Inc.
Ryan hopes to duplicate that formula with rookie QB Mark Sanchez. "We brought him here to compete for the starting job," Ryan said of Sanchez. "He'll have every opportunity to start" on opening day.
Sal Paolantonio is ESPN's bureau reporter based in Philadelphia and covering the Jets' draft.