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Greene Moved the Chains; RBs Rebalanced Too?

Posted by Randy Lange on November 18, 2010 – 4:01 pm

Has a switch been thrown inside Jets Offense Central? The past two weeks Shonn Greene has moved up the yardage and touches charts to pull even in a few respects with LaDainian Tomlinson out of the backfield.

“My time of the year? Yeah, I think so,” Greene said today at his locker in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “That cold weather, I’ve been playing in it since I was little. High school in South Jersey, college at Iowa. Something turns the button on around now.”

Balancing carries and touches is an art, not a science, but at Cleveland, LT and SG had 20-plus touches in the same game for only the second time this season (the first being the rout at Buffalo). Tomlinson had 24 rushes plus receptions for 110 yards, Greene had 23 for 94. Additionally, for the first time this season Greene had more rushing yards than Tomlinson, 72 to 57.

This is not a competition, of course. As Rex Ryan said at his news conference, the idea all along has been about cooperation within the team and outcompeting the bad guys.

“Maybe it was about having both those guys fresh by the time we get through the season,” Ryan said of the plan that resulted in Thomas Jones leaving for Kansas City and Tomlinson arriving from San Diego.

“Last year we kind of used Thomas up a little bit, and that was more of a product of, remember, Shonn was hurt, then Leon got hurt and the burden really fell on Thomas. But when Shonn came back, we knew he was a great back. That’s where at the end we kind of adjusted it a little to where Shonn got the bulk of the carries.

“This year ideally you’d like these guys to go into a game where you don’t know who’s going to carry it. We just think both guys are capable of carrying it 20 times.”

There was something more about Greene’s rock ‘n’ roll in Cleveland that fell through the cracks of the overtime victory. In a game in which the Jets couldn’t salt the win away in regulation with points, at least they moved the sticks to keep their chances alive through OT. And no Jet in a long while has moved the sticks better than Greene did Sunday.

For starters, he had nine first downs (seven rushing, two receiving). That’s the most by any Jet since Thomas Jones had 11 in the home rout of St. Louis in 2008.

Then there were Greene’s clutch runs. He converted four third downs (three rushing, one receiving) and one fourth-and-1 on a Tomlinson-esque vault.

The last time any Jets player, not just a back, had as many as five crunch-down conversions in a game? Then-rookie Dustin Keller with his five receiving conversions at New England in ’08. The last Jets back? Curtis Martin in the 2004 opener against Cincinnati.

And no Jet has had more than five such conversions since Johnny Johnson (did you ever think you’d see that name again, Jets fans?) had six conversions, all on third down, in the 1994 season opener at Buffalo.

Greene’s not letting any of this go to his head. He still remains patient playing in the same backfield with a future first-ballot Hall of Famer in Tomlinson. “He’s one of the best there is,” Shonn said. “It’s good for me to be backing him up.”

But the second-year battering ram said things felt different when he was given the ball again and again on the 18-play, 10:04 drive that opened the third quarter.

“Yeah, I noticed it a little bit,” he told me. “I kind of got a rhythm going, which is hard to do when it’s going back and forth. And once that started, I just felt like I wanted the ball more and more.”

But he wants the ball more in a good way. To help keep Tomlinson fresh as LT keeps him fresh, and to help the Jets plow on through November and December and into January.

Kickers’ Road Trip

While the Jets were practicing outside today, four people left on a fact-finding mission to East Rutherford. Punter/holder Steve Weatherford, kicker Nick Folk, snapper Tanner Purdum, and assistant special teams coach Ben Kotwica went to New Meadowlands Stadium for a short session of kicking in the afternoon conditions of the new Home of the Jets.

ST coordinator Mike Westhoff said from his experiences there and today’s field reports, he feels that any problems the Jets have had in the Meadowlands have more to do with technique than new or worse wind patterns and that NMS is more favorable to kickers than OMS. Perhaps underscoring that, Folk reportedly went 20-of-22 in his practice kicks today, with misses only from 56 and 60 yards.

Injury Reports

Ryan said CB Dwight Lowery (concussion) will sit out Sunday’s game. “He’s still got a little way to go there,” said Rex.

Two players stayed out of practice again today: WR Jerricho Cotchery (groin) and CB Marquice Cole (hamstring). Rex said “They’re both probably questionable right now,” giving them an informal game status one day earlier than he has to.

G Matt Slauson (knee) and S Eric Smith (ankle) were both limited and Ryan expects both of them to play vs. Houston. Sanchez (calf) stepped up to the full-team-drills list.

Practice was moved from the fieldhouse Wednesday to the slightly less windy outdoor grass fields today.

The good word for Houston on the injury front was that Matt Schaub left the hospital with that knee bursitis and was limited at practice today. WR Andre Johnson (ankle) also went from DNP to limited. TE Owen Daniels (hamstring) was still sidelined, and LB Zac Diles joined the DNP short list with illness.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 15 Comments »

15 Responses to “Greene Moved the Chains; RBs Rebalanced Too?”

  1. By IRA on Nov 18, 2010 | Reply

    Good idea about Folk kicking in the stadium and glad to se he was accurate. As for Greene getting more reps now it is the right move. LT is on pace for about 300 touches which would be way too much if they expect him to be fresh for a playoff run and SB run. Still think they should keep LT to about 15 touches a game. And yes Greene does need multiple touches to get him into a groove. This is all good stuff and expect both players to have a very good day running the ball vs the Texans.
    GO JETS!!!!

  2. By AA`78 on Nov 18, 2010 | Reply

    LT is currently averaging 15 touches a game with 141 over 9 games. He’ll have 250 if he continues at his current pace, which is far less than he usually averaged per year with SD.

  3. By Row on Nov 18, 2010 | Reply

    Personally, this running game is the key to the rest of the season. The Jets haven’t had a 100 yard rusher since about 4 games ago and we really need to get things going again. Sanchez is starting his turnover trend. I would really like to know what happened to the FB we drafted because he needs to be in there with T-Rich busting heads. I don’t want to see Keller in there trying to block. There is no reason for that. He does his job creating mis matches. I think we should open up the field with some up the middle TE throws along with a few slants. Dump the screens. Run the ball, and then run some more. Houston doesn’t know anything about cold weather or Jet football. They are going to get some this week though. Go Jets!

  4. By scjoe on Nov 18, 2010 | Reply

    Ira, there is a huge difference kicking in an empty stadium with a couple of team mates and kicking in a packed stadium on the road. I think that this position more then any other can be effected by the pressure of the game, and even more so in a “pressure” situation. That, I think is the problem with Folk. I do not believe last year was a fluke for him, or do I believe it was entirely due to injury, I think a lot of it is in his head and I fear the future with him. I would love to see a late round pick used on a stud PK this draft.

  5. By scjoe on Nov 18, 2010 | Reply

    I have mixed feelings on the rotation of RBs used throughout the league the past few years. Back in the day it was quite obvious how most backs improved as the game wore on, most were stronger in the 4th quarter then in the 1st or 2nd. But then you need to look at the injury factor and how much more violent the game is now compared to back then. So, I guess if you have to chose between the two, especially if you have two very good backs as we do, today’s system should get the nod.

  6. By Gregg from CA on Nov 18, 2010 | Reply

    I think a more significant factor in RBs getting more productive in the 4th quarter is that the defense is too tired to keep up with them anymore. When you’re tired, making a quick move to decleat a linebacker is easier than reacting to the move. Defensive players start to commit to a direction earlier to make up for sluggishness, and then they’re ripe for the kind of move that LT threw a few weeks ago on his touchdown run. Barry Sanders racked up huge yards late in the game because the D was tired from chasing him all game.

  7. By Ray on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    I don’t see why this game should be any different than the last 5, we should have been able to dominate 4 of those 5 by running and controlling the game, but instead have looked very pedestrian running the ball. I disagree Row, I think the screen could have been one of our most effective plays. When Sanchez learns to take a little off the fastball from six yards away the guys can actually have time to make a move after catching the ball. We have had at least 3 good screens set up but didn’t make the connection.
    Now I just have to locate a good sports bar in Indianapolis to view this game…it is gonna feel funny watching a game and having to be all politically correct when I’m screaming at the players….

  8. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    Memo to Westhoff: Folk aside, kicking in the new stadium woulda been easier if we’d had any brains and put a retractable dome on it, like in case we ever got the green light to play a Super Bowl there.

  9. By Pranit on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    Clearly LT’s getting the majority of the snaps….Greene’s taken a back seat….or the suspect O play calling has forced that situation….Schotty, run the ball when its 2nd & 2 near the goal line….Jets are the worst in converting TD’s in red zone, and thats because the play calling is the worst in the NFL too…

  10. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    Ray, come out to the San Fernando Valley sometime, the sports bar that I told WestcoastGangGreen about last week is one of the least politically correct places in the L.A. area, from the real drinkers at the bar to the sassy barmaids and waitresses to the folks who smoke outside on the patio without shame (beneath four TV screens showing four different games) to, of course, the rowdy Raider fans and the eternally disappointed Charger fans. Plus, we need recruits in the ongoing battle (friendly but still fierce) of the Jets fans vs. the Pats fans.

  11. By Ray on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    Actually ’64 Tom I go out that way with some regularity, I just don’t know if I’ll be out there before the end of the year. I have two sisters that live up your way and my best friend lives in Manhattan Beach and grew up in SD so he’s a Chargers season ticket holder. I’ve gone to several Jets games out there and you definitely don’t have to worry about Charger fans tackling you after the game! If I head out that way though I will definitely let you know, would love to watch a game with some Jets fans…just tell me they serve Guinness at that place!!

  12. By GaryC on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    jet fan tom, don’t get the idea of putting a retractable roof on the new stadium,it will only make the team softer. being out here in indy they close that roof all the time just because it is below 50 degrees rain or shine.that is why colts won’t win if they are on road. they have to make it perfect conditions for crybaby manning.that is why if hopefully jets could get the colts at the meadowlands I see victory.

  13. By Mike Jet Vet on Nov 19, 2010 | Reply

    Steelers released Reed go get him Rex

  14. By Ray on Nov 20, 2010 | Reply

    I’m not so sure that’s an upgrade Ex, replace our kicker who missed a 24 yd FG with Pittsburghs kicker who got cut for missing a 26 yd FG? The pickins are pretty slim on kickers this year.

  15. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 21, 2010 | Reply

    That’s great to hear, Ray, hope to see you out here someday soon and I’ll check on the Guinness availability at The Draft when I go there for the game tomorrow. GaryC, that’s a good point about the dome-softened Colts but I wonder if two games a year in NE and BUF wouldn’t keep us okay with the cold weather, unless BUF moves to an indoor stadium, too. Anyway, my main point was that there was never any way the NY/braintrust (or no-braintrust) would’ve spent that kind of $ on a stadium without going for the SB, which I still don’t want to see played in rainy or snowy conditions.

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