- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets entered the season with the mindset that Shonn Greene would be the workhorse in the backfield, with Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight there to spell him. The team is now looking to rotate three running backs Rex Ryan said Monday.
"I think it is the ideal scenario for us because we have three very capable backs," Ryan said. "Instead of just throwing one guy in there all the time to take all the hits and all the protections and the routes and all that. I think when you have three guys coming in, I think that's what the league is going to. You don't have that guy that necessarily does it all every snap anymore the way you used to with a Walter Payton or whatever. You kind of divide that role up. I think for us it's good."
Having all three running backs healthy is now key for the Jets. Powell has battled a concussion and a shoulder injury recently and McKnight has had ankle issues forcing the team to rely primarily on Greene. Greene has started all but one game this season.
"If they're just looking for Shonn Greene in the game the whole time and looking between the tackles, then you throw Bilal in the game and he goes off-tackle," McKnight said. "It's a change of pace to the game and it's always good to get everybody some touches."
The Jets were able to split up the work Sunday with all three backs active. Powell had 28 snaps, Greene had 26 and McKnight finished with seven. The three backs combined for 120 yards on the day. Greene led the way with 18 carries to Powell's 11 and McKnight's four, although Powell did catch two passes out of the backfield and also had two rushing touchdowns.
Greene, who leads the teams with 631 rushing yards and five touchdowns, isn't worried about his touches, saying he's not a selfish player. He's averaging 17.2 rushes per game. He expects it will help to have all three healthy backs contributing.
"That's a big contribution to this game and it's going to help out a lot giving the defense different looks like that, and keeping everybody fresh," Greene said. "With Joe and Bilal, they got some skill sets that can help us win games so we want to use that to our advantage."
As the Jets look to use a committee, it's part of a growing trend of teams moving away from having one primary ball carrier and instead divvying up the carries. They only need to look around their division and realize the benefits of having a multiple-back rushing attack.
"You see the Patriots do it with their different backs. Miami does it. Buffalo's doing it," Ryan said. "If you have the talent, when the guys are healthy and all that, fresh, I think that's the best way."