Jets RB situation: Greene and green

October, 15, 2012
10/15/12
5:16
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets will head to New England this weekend with only one healthy and experienced running back -- Shonn Greene.

Backup RB Bilal Powell confirmed Monday he has a dislocated right shoulder. He declined to comment on how long he'll be sidelined, but he definitely won't play against the Patriots, sources said.

Meanwhile, backup RB Joe McKnight suffered a high-ankle sprain, sources said. The Jets haven't ruled him out this week, but it's unlikely he'll play. With only two games before the bye week, it wouldn't be a surprise if McKnight doesn't return until after the bye.

Rex Ryan provided no medical updates Monday. It's Patriots week, so he might be a little more guarded than usual.

The Jets have a serious depth problem at running back. The only halfbacks on the roster are Greene and rookie Jonathan Grimes, originally signed by the Texans as an undrafted free agent. He has no NFL experience, but he will be active for the Patriots.

Without Powell and McKnight, the Jets don't have a true third-down back. Greene might be assigned to every-down duty. FB Lex Hilliard has had prior experience at running back, so it's possible they could prep him for that role as well. They didn't bring in any free agents Monday for tryouts, a source said.

KEEP YOUR HANDS TO YOURSELF: Ryan singled out CB Antonio Cromartie for his play in Sunday's game, but he also said Cromartie needs to cut down on the penalties. He was flagged three times --- twice for pass interference and once for illegal contact. His 76-yard interception return for a touchdown was nullified because of his pass-interference penalty.

"He had his hand on Reggie (Wayne) a little bit too long and made a great interception, but he doesn't need to do that," Ryan said. "He doesn't need to foul. (He needs) to let his athleticism handle it. Once we start getting out of those penalties, I think the sky's the limit for him."

Cromartie leads the team with five penalties for 66 yards.

LOOKING AHEAD: The Jets will face a more balanced Patriots offense than they're used to seeing. Led by Steven Ridley, the Patriots are ranked fourth in rushing offense, averaging 152 yards per game. DE Muhammad Wilkerson said the Jets can handle it as long as they played like they did against the Colts.

"We have to play physical up front like we did and we'll have no problem with New England running the ball," he said.

ODDS AND ENDS: Reviewing Sunday's win, Ryan singled out several players for praise, including Greene, the offensive line, TEs Dustin Keller and Jeff Cumberland for their blocking, Cromartie, Wilkerson and rookie DE Quinton Coples. Ryan said Wilkerson's performance was "the type of game we were expecting from Mo, just a dominant performance." ... Ryan said it may have been the best blocking game of Keller's career ... Keller on the AFC East, which has four teams at 3-3: "It's crazy. The whole division is crazy right now." ... The Jets moved up to 15th in rushing offense and 28th in rushing defense (prior to Monday night).

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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