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Blog

Jets Ground Game Will See Sunday What’s Afoot

Posted by Randy Lange on September 22, 2011 – 5:26 pm

It was a silly small yard — make that a foolish little foot — that was navigated successfully late in the third quarter of a solid victory over a struggling opponent. But could it possibly be a sign of bigger and better things to come from the Jets’ ground game?

Do mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow?

Yes to the second, maybe to the first. But Shonn Greene’s 1-foot touchdown run to make it Jets, 29-3, against the Jaguars on Sunday sure looked like a run of beauty from the playbooks of their top-ranked ground games of 2009 and ’10.

“A play like that, it starts up front,” fullback John Conner, still feeling frisky from being introduced along with the five O-line starters as the Jets’ game captains for the Jaguars, said today in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room. “They gave a good push, and then I could get in there and get my body on somebody. Shonn’s a great physical runner, so he’s going to get in there easily.”

It was more than just Conner paving the way for Greene. LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson and LG Matt Slauson sealed off the inside — Brick, in fact, buckled DT Tyson Alualu to the ground with great leverage and a muscular push. TEs Matt Mulligan and Jeff Cumberland stoned the outside defenders. RG Brandon Moore pulled around and helped add to the bulwark. Then came Conner with the final block in the wall and as a result No. 23 had no trouble powering through the hole.

“That was actually weird,” Greene said of his first touchdown run of the season. “We usually run that play to the right side. That was the first time in a long time that we ran it to the left. It was well-executed.”

There were a few good reasons for that switch, said Slauson.

“A lot of teams know it’s a blast play — everybody runs blast. We’ve always run it to the right,” he explained. “We wanted to break that tendency because now teams are overloading like crazy on the right side. We want to say, ‘OK, you want to do that, then we’re going to run left,’ and it will balance ‘em up.”

Slauson said there was also a little back-at-you to the Jets’ defenders.

“Because our offense didn’t play as well as we would’ve liked,” he said, “we really felt like we owed it to the defense to score.”

All this may be wishful thinking for the running game, which is ranked 28th in the NFL with 73.0 yards per game and 27th with 3.0 yards per carry. But another good omen heading into the Black Hole on Sunday is that two years ago, that was the venue where Greene got his Jets career off and flying.

“That was actually my first 100-yard game, when Leon got hurt,” Greene reflected. “I was kind of shocked when I first went in but the offense was going well.”

Greene’s 144 yards, plus two TDs on 19 carries, coming off the bench that day was at the time the most yards by a Jets rookie since Matt Snell’s 1964 rookie breakout campaign. The Green & White finished that day with 316 rushing yards, 447 total and a 38-0 victory.

Logic says the game ahead against the Raiders will be tougher. It’s the Silver and Black’s home opener, and Colin Baxter appears to be on the verge of making his first pro start for Nick Mangold and his ailing ankle.

“It’s no excuses, the next man steps up,” head coach Rex Ryan said today, adding that compared to Mangold’s All-Pro level, “In Baxter’s case it’ll hard to pick it up a little. But we do want him to try and maintain it at least for one game.”

And the Jets are more upbeat inside their locker room than many fans are outside of it that their return to a top-ten running team providing offensive balance is not far away.

“We know the talent we have on this team,” Conner said. “We’re a ground-and-pound team. Once we get it going, we’re going to be hard to stop.”

Rex Cetera

Today’s injury report was unchanged from Wednesday’s, which means Ryan still doesn’t see Mangold making a miracle return to action. “Tomorrow we’ll know if he’s going or not,” the coach said. “If he’s not going to play, then obviously he won’t make the trip out there. I don’t see it happening. He seems to think he … but hey, we’ll see.”

The Raiders had some changes to their report. Still not practicing were WRs Jacoby Ford and Louis Murphy and S Michael Mitchell. QB Jason Campbell, RB Darren McFadden and CB Chris Johnson were limited. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, S Jerome Boyd and K Sebastian Janikowski were full participants along with TE Kevin Boss.


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Posted in Randy Lange | 32 Comments »


32 Responses to “Jets Ground Game Will See Sunday What’s Afoot”

  1. By walt on Sep 22, 2011 | Reply

    I am semiconfident in baxter playing this sunday. I have heard that he was a finalist for both the outland and the remington trophy.Supposedly the only reason he was not drafted wasbecause of a knee injury he suffered in his senoir season. It is most certainly not unusual for a team to start a rookie or even two rookies in their offensive line. If everyone else does their job every thing should be fine.

  2. By scjoe on Sep 22, 2011 | Reply

    The running game will go a long way in determining the winner of this game. Best case, the Jets get the running game going early and control the game. It will be tough to win this game without the running game. Worse case? If Oakland gets an early lead and McFadden has just a usual day running the ball we will be in a world of trouble. The Jets do not match up well playing Oakland from behind. This may be the worse team to face without Mangold.

  3. By Tom Spicer on Sep 22, 2011 | Reply

    I was thinking about a point Frank was trying to make by saying that other teams are stacking the box & daring us to pass. He said that was the reason we have not been able to run the ball. Well what I was thinking was this IF they are stacking the box to stop the run this year. Dont you think that they would have done the same thing & stcked the box to stop the run in Marks first & second year even more. They didnt just start stacking the box this year & not do that in his first 2 years. So in his first 2 years we where able to run the ball well & now we can not. Why is that I will tell you why POOR O LINE PLAY THATS WHY!

  4. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 22, 2011 | Reply

    Ground and pound RIP, for now anyway. I know Rex has to keep saying quotable stuff but I think we oughta stop anointing ourselves this and that and just keep doing what’s necessary to win games. Right now we have a below-average running attack and an O line that’s playing really poorly — maybe way below its potential, maybe not. The flip side of my saying that all that really counts on D is how many pts you give up is that all that really counts on O is how many pts you score. I’ll get more interested in talk of Sanchez’s “improvement” and all our “weapons” on O when we start scoring pts like at least an average team. Forget Brady, Ben R., and Ryan — Newton, Fitzpatrick, and Stafford are making MS look like a moderately talented rookie.

  5. By uncle joe on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    Just wanna say how happy I am that we have Slauson. A fifth round pick, he early on in his career is I feel,playing AWESOME for us. In addition it seems with these increasing interviews I read from him, is becoming somewhat of a vocal leader/veteran for this Line. And to think, I once read somewhere that at the time they drafted him, they kinda just picked him because they were running outta time!

  6. By mikeventi on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    There is no WE, or US… it’s the JETS, none of us are on the team. That’s first. Secondly, it’s 2 GAMES…. that they’ve WON. Quit worrying about the running game, at least until it costs the Jets a game. The Jets haven’t gained many rushing yards… but there hasn’t been a commitment to run the ball, yet. As far as the other quarterbacks that are so much better than the “moderately talented rookie”, Mark Sanchez, Newton is 0-2, Fitzpatrick is 2-0 against horrible defenses, Stafford was always considered more talented, plus, he has one of the best receivers in the game. Ben and Ryan, both 1-1, with their play costing there teams those losses.
    I won’t even get started on the cheat, Brady. RELAX.

  7. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    P.S. I didn’t mean that what we’ve scored against the Cowboys and the Jags wasn’t average. In fact, it’s encouraging compared to how our point totals started off the last 2 yrs. I mean we have to keep it up and keep averaging 28-30 pts a game and not fall back into that weird notion that we can win every game 10-7. uncle joe, Slauson is a good example of why I trust Callahan and why I refuse to get hysterical over Ducasse. That said, Mr T and Rex aren’t helping him any by asking him to work miracles with so little depth on the line. walt, if anyone had told you in July we’d be starting a UFA on the line you’d have laughed in their face. I still can’t believe we’re not talking to some vet C in case this is too much too soon for Baxter.

  8. By Gmany3k on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    Maybe this is the Game we get it out of 3rd gear its the 3rd year. name that song.

  9. By uncle joe on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    I fight with my Old Man every Sunday with me screaming run the ball and him yelling pass. Running the ball demoralizes the other D,keeps the other team from scoring,burns time off the clock and gives your D a rest.Plus, you better get it going now because if you don’t,come winter time you’ll be lost!

  10. By uncle joe on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    That said,when the situation dictates,as in this Sunday with projected Man to Man coverage,Let It Fly. I see a big game from LT catching and running. The draw play should work well too!

  11. By GaryC on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    uncle joe, you make a great point about jets and their drafting,they draft better when they don’t know what to do.Slauson might be their best pick in some time considering where he was drafted,that is what they mean by getting value in the later rounds,like when jets drafted,Klecko,dan alexander,also lance mehl,who was I believe a third rounder.

  12. By GaryC on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    randy, if you can verify something that was said by Greg Buttle on one of the preseason games,he said Ducasse has problems at times understanding the english language being from Haiti and if jets are changing plays at line of scrimmage is this causing him to jump from time to time.

  13. By MarkP@JetsReality on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    Raiders play a 4-3 but mark my words, Seymour or Kelly will line up right over Baxter’s nose. This game has disaster written all over it.
    I’ve heard everything. Now the WR screen will work? What! We haven’t gained an inch on that play going back to Herm. MS should make Hunter pay his disability premiums. I’m surprised at you Uncle Joe, Slausen was drafted by the Jets in the sixth round. And Jet Fan Since ’64 Tom, Callahan knew Slausen from Nebraska. Ducasse is a disaster! Only reason we drafted him was he went to same college as Mike T. Now we have to live with him for 3 years like VG. A joke! BB cuts Pro Bowlers and we keep stiffs! My heart is Green but sorry, Raiders 24-17!

  14. By Too Kool on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    This game will come down to Nick Folk,s right foot at the end. Let’s hope he can bury another gane winner

  15. By GaryC on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    jet fan tom, give baxter a chance,I am tired of the jets running down to the AARP meetings to get their roster filled,stop talking with forked tongue,either you want youth or you want ole man river.you must have good balance to be on the fence this long.Just look at the past super bowl winners, they build through the draft.

  16. By kleckofan on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    I know that all of us here are astute fans of the G&W and I too have blamed the lack of a running game on the O-Line, but read the article in the WSJ (yes, they occasionally do sports pieces) about O-Line play. There is a company (Football Focus) that analyzes every play and sells the data to NFL teams; they release general data to the public. They have analyzed over 50,000 plays in the last 3 yrs. Last yr our line ranked #1 when considered for successful run blocks and sacks allowed. At this point we are ranked #3 in the NFL. The demise of Ground and Pound is Schotty and/or Rex (maybe Tom Moore too). It is very difficult to simply assert your will to run on a defense and to continue to do so. And all the rule changes have made passing nece

  17. By kleckofan on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    passing necessary to keep up w other teams who focus on it. We need balance (as always) run to set up pass and vice versa. This game scares the heck out of me. They are vulnerable on the outside, often single man coverage. Pop a few slants for big YAC then run it down their throat!

  18. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    mikeventi, Newton looks phenomenal, you can just watch that one series with the fade pass TD after a TD was called back to see that, several writers have commented on how that was the play of a vet. And was he supposed to beat GB? We’re 2-0 vs. horrible D’s just like Fitzpatrick and one of those D’s had its whole secondary out. And while I can understand you’ve forgotten that Holmes is one of the best WRs in the league since we’re currently reducing him to J-Co-like yards per catch, uh, yeah, he’s still one of the best and Mason and potentially Plax are certainly solid enough. As for Ben, Sanchez isn’t in his league and I like the way Ryan beat PHI. GaryC, it’s an emergency at C so a vet pickup isn’t a bad move, we need more depth anyway.

  19. By scjoe on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    64, I hear ya about the ground and pound. I do believe Rex overstated it, or at least tried to. But at the same time, this team more then ever needs to jack up the run game because the passing game has some serious issues, further it better get jacked up this week. I am not pointing a finger at any one particular spot in the passing game, just overall.

  20. By scjoe on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    mikeventi, Sanchez is not a rookie! Newton is an 0-2 rookie who has lit up the scoreboard his first 2 starts, one against a very good GB D.Also, are you saying that “if/when “our”Jets lose a few games THEN you will start to worry about the run game? My question to you would be will you still be on the band wagon then?

  21. By Jack on Sep 23, 2011 | Reply

    Jets are not going to have a Ground and Pound with that offensive line they will need to drafts a RT and a RG in next year drafts. I’m having some doubt about RB, Shonn Greene really don’t think he a ever down plays RB. I believe they would better if they have RB Joe McKnight in there instead of Greene would love to see the Jets try to get RB, Marcus Lattimore from South Carolina now he will be the Ground and Pound for the Jets if they can trade up to get him.

  22. By GaryC on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    Jack, if the jets select a guy from South Carolina next year it better be Jeffrey, the wide receiver, 6’4 about 225-230.that is what we need,other teams have calvin johnson,andre johnson,huge wideouts who present matchup problems, sorry Plastico is not that man.

  23. By Charliejet on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    Tom64 – wait a minute. I’m confused from what I understand, you have been saying we need to build from the draft instead of veteran players (which I don’t disagree with) and now that Mangold is hurt we need to look for a veteran center.According to Walt, this kid (Baxter) was a semi-finalist for the Outland and Rimington trophy. Mark P couldn’t agree more this game is just too fast for Ducasse. “Demise of the ground game” as per Klecofan – A little too early to call that one don’t you think? Uncle Joe draw plays are good occasionally – what I wanna know is do we have any screen plays? One word we all seem to forget here:” INTANGIBLES”. Same ole’ mantra fellow JET fan
    ONE..GAME…AT…A…TIME.

  24. By Charliejet on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    Tom 64 – P.S. (to my last comment) Still with Baxter in there -lets keep John Conner back there for added insurance…

  25. By mikeventi on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    scjoe, first off, I’m not now, nor have I ever been, on the band wagon. I’ve been a Jets fan since a muddy playoff game in Miami, through the Kotite years, til now. However, I’m a realistic Jets fan… not the “doom and gloom” type that seem to frequent these boards. My point about the run game was this… they WON…. it isn’t a problem, yet. Especially, since they haven’t committed to the run… and I’d much rather see them get the passing game down, now, before they really need it later on…. the run will be there. Thanks for the update on Sanchez not being a rookie, scjoe, I wasn’t sure. Sanchez has WON… I don’t care what Newton does, nor should any Jets fan. I don’t prescribe to fantasy numbers, the W is all that matters.

  26. By mikeventi on Sep 24, 2011 | Reply

    As far as Ben and Ryan, my point was that they have losses. Ryan hasn’t won a playoff game. And Ben, I’ll give him his trophies… I’m not comparing him to Sanchez…. I’m saying, give him time— these knee jerk reactions, to every pass he throws, are ridiculous. If anybody thinks that Newton, or Fitzpatrick, would make the Jets a better team…. you should have your collective heads examined.
    Fantasy numbers, that’s all they are, so far…. Fitzpatrick has been a starter…. with a losing record. With all the lean years of the Jets, and Sanchez having the WINNING record he does, the fact that he gets criticized so much, is crazy.

  27. By Row on Sep 25, 2011 | Reply

    I wanna see Powell out there today. Old fashioned run formations where you know it’s coming but you gotta take on a lead blocker and a blocking TE at the LOS. If Greene has to play decoy or lead block than so be it. Im tired of the dive plays with no FB on first down. Throw a slant, check to a boot action TE coverage option play. Use Keller more in the slot. Give Holmes a chance, he’s really done nothing vs the poor competition he’s had the last two weeks. Go Jets

  28. By scjoe on Sep 25, 2011 | Reply

    fair enough mikeventi, only thing I want to add is that sometime the QB takes to much of the blame for a loss and sometimes he gets to much credit for the win.Point being, don’t hold a guy like Fitzpatrick or more recently Newton fully responsible for his teams overall performance, it just is not always that clear cut. And for the “gloom and doom Jet fans”? Consider what long time fans have gone through from the days of the Titans playing at the old Polo Grounds to the Kottite years, the Holtz, years the Winner years, etc. I don’t have a problem with anyone blowing off a little steam as long as it don’t effect the final score on Sunday (which it don’t)

  29. By Jack on Sep 26, 2011 | Reply

    You remember that drafts picks want McFadden came out? McFadden that year was the 4th pick in that drafts and want to the Raiders. There was alot of talks if the Jets should take RB, McFadden or QB, Matt Ryan who went to the Falcons who had the 3rd pick in the drafts. Jets had the 6th pick in that drafts and took DE, Vernon Gholston with he is not playing in the NFL anymore. I really wanted QB, Matt Ryan that year my second choice was RB, McFadden. This is why I don’t like Tannenbaum don’t like him as the GM some much.

  30. By Jack on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    We don’t need to draft a WR in the 1st rd but if Alshon Jeffery is still there I guess it would be best to take him. I still would love to get RB Marcus Lattimore but as of right now I believe are biggest issue might be the offensive line without that you have no running games plus you won’t have a starting QB, for long. Here a few OL don’t know where they plays at but we would needs to get OL Michael Brewster Ohio St, David DeCastro, Stanford. Matt Reynolds BYU. Barrett Jones Alabama. and Nate Potter Boise St. Jets will need to get one or 2 of those OL with in the 1st or 2rd rd picks.

  31. By Jack on Sep 28, 2011 | Reply

    PS having a good and a great offensive lines like New England will make any RB’s and QB’s look good or look like Brady. We need to build the offensive lines not worrying about the defensive too much but it sure would be nice to get a pass rusher player who can sacks up to 10 more a season.

  32. By Eli Rodriguez on Sep 29, 2011 | Reply

    Hello, the next guy i want to see out there is RB CHRIS JENNINGS(yeah-YOU cut him)but he was hungry and ran hard!–In the little time he played, he outperformed Mcknight in preseason. Please remember that.

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