Friday, June 1, 2012
Big year upcoming for Shonn Greene?
By James Walker
The New York Jets have stopped the preseason predictions. But one thing they are not shy about is letting everyone know they plan to be physical on offense.
Does this mean a big year is upcoming for Jets starting running back Shonn Greene? The Jets hope that is the case.
New York head coach Rex Ryan and new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano want to take "ground and pound" to the next level in 2012. Greene, who is coming off his first 1,000-yard season, will be at the center of it.
Greene set career highs last season in carries (253), yards (1,054) and touchdowns (six). The Jets expect even more out of the fourth-year tailback this year.
"We want to be a run-first team," Ryan said this week during organized team activities. "In other words, bring them all in here (by the line of scrimmage) and we'll throw it. ... We want to be a physical football team. You're going to know it. So we're not going to disappoint you. We're going to give the ball to Shonn Greene a bunch."
With future Hall of Fame tailback LaDainian Tomlinson out of the picture, Greene might get 300-plus carries. Backup tailback Joe McKnight is second on the depth chart and unproven. The Jets also will use backup quarterback Tim Tebow as a change-up in New York's Wildcat package.
But it will be mostly Greene as the biggest engine behind New York's "ground and pound." He will be asked to set the tone every week and to take pressure off quarterback Mark Sanchez and the passing game.
More opportunities should be a good thing for Greene. He is a big, physical runner who averages 4.3 yards per carry over his career. Greene also played hurt at times last year and still put together some big games.
"He fits in pretty well. I mean Shonn is a physical back," Sparano said. "I remember watching this guy come out in college, watching his college tape. It was tremendous. He's built the right way. He gets his shoulders squared to the line of scrimmage, he breaks tackles, and he runs with the right pad level. To me, he has all the qualities I look for in those type of A-back players."