There are several reasons for Shonn Greene to have a Rocky Mountain high this week. One is he’s never played in Denver before. Another is that he and the guys are eager to have an impactful game for their position coach, Anthony Lynn, who before he became a coach was a two-ring winner with the Broncos in 1997-98.
“This is a big game for him. We’ve been talking about it,” Greene said today at his locker. “We want to do our best for him.”
But Shonn, LaDainian Tomlinson and the “big fatties” up front want to grind away at the Broncos defense for two other reasons: They like being top dogs again.
“Every team, I think, wants to be No. 1 in certain categories,” Greene said. “That’s how our defense feels, and that’s also how we feel after being No. 1 in rushing last year. We want to continue that.”
Greene continues to talk in “we” terms even when the questions are about himself, and this is a good thing. The Jets have transitioned from TJ to LT, from Alan Faneca to Matt Slauson, everyone’s a year older, and yet the Green & White are again, as they finished the 2009 season, the top team in the NFL in rushing yards per game.
And SG, even though he started only two of the five games, even though he’s gotten almost 20 percent fewer carries than Tomlinson, is making this ground game a force to be reckoned with. In fact, Greene’s 280 rushing yards are the most by a No. 2 back in the league at this point. Talk about a one-two punch.
“Shonn just keeps hitting you, he keeps hitting you, then he bounces it on you,” head coach Rex Ryan said at today’s news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “He can bury teams in the fourth quarter. That’s his running style.”
Greene helped throw dirt on the Vikings with his 23-yard misdirection-run TD with 4:30 to play Monday night, but Ryan remembered another run when a Minny safety, perhaps Madieu Williams, tried to take him down.
“The safety came down and tried to take his ankles out. He dove low — and Shonn still rammed him with his helmet,” Ryan said with that ground-and-pound smile. “How the heck did he get his body down there? He has such great forward lean and balance. No matter how low the safety got, Shonn got lower. That was impressive.”
“That’s what I try to do, so at the end of the game, the fourth quarter, nobody’s going to want to come down and tackle me,” Greene said of his powerful style. “I think I picked up that style back in high school. The main reason for me playing football was that I liked to be physical and rough. I always had that mentality to be tougher than the next guy.”
Some still worry about Greene’s style banging him up too much for the postseason, but sharing the load with Tomlinson won’t hurt his late-season health. If the Jets’ two-man wrecking crew keep up its current pace, the two will finish the regular season with a combined 442 carries for 2,288 yards. Split those numbers up roughly in half and there’s more than enough to go around for both Greene and Tomlinson to help the Jets lead the league again and, more important, to supply a big chunk of the team’s planned-for playoff run.
We already tweeted the news that Ryan and the team’s doctors and trainers had both CB Darrelle Revis and LB Calvin Pace “limited” at today’s practice, taking part in some but not all team drills, a step up from Wednesday’s “did not participate” for both.
Rex isn’t yet ready to declare both players ready to roll for Denver, but he did state that “Both will definitely make the trip. … I’m hoping both of them can go. We’ll see. That flight is a long one. We’ll see how they come out of the flight and how they run around a little bit on Saturday.”
Update: 6:05 p.m. EDT: The Broncos’ injury report still contains 10 names but four have improved their status. RB Andre Brown (illness) and LB Mario Haggan (neck) practiced full today, while RBs Knowshon Moreno (hamstring) and Spencer Larsen (ankle) were limited. Six did not participate in any team drills: safeties Brian Dawkins (knee) and Darcel McBath (ankle), LBs Robert Ayers (foot) and Wesley Woodyard (hamstring), CB André Goodman (quad) and rookie WR-KR Demaryius Thomas (concussion).
A Big Jenks Comeback?
Ryan was asked about DT Kris Jenkins, who suffered his second season-ending knee injury, this one in the Baltimore opener, saying recently that he wants to come back and play again in 2011. Rex was all for that.
“You’ve got to be 100 percent committed. If he wavers, that’s going to be tough. But I love the fact that he’s saying it right now,” the coach said. “We all know Jenks. If he says it, he’s going to go out and do it.
“We were expecting he was going to have a huge year for us. Coming off this injury, you’d like to see him really get his weight off earlier, which can only help him. This guy is a special player. I’m hoping he can do it. I don’t think he’s done.”
Tags: Anthony Lynn, Denver Broncos, LaDainian Tomlinson, Rex Ryan, Shonn Greene
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