The Rundown: Is the Running Game the Exit Strategy?

The Jets' offense had quite a bit to celebrate about as Bilal Powell scores one of his two touchdowns this past Sunday in a win over the St. Louis Rams.

In Rex Ryan’s first year with the team he stolidly stuck to running the ball to devastating effect, leading the team in carries and yards by a wide margin.  Over the years the team has moved away from that model, but according to the New York Times, the Jets have moved back to that type of gameplan in recent weeks.

Despite the presence of three Pro Bowl selections on the offensive line — left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, center Nick Mangold and right guard Brandon Moore — the Jets had the 22nd-ranked rushing attack last season.

The Jets have returned to their roots recently, averaging 140 yards rushing in the past three games. For the season, they rank 12th with an average of 115.2 yards a game.

Even so, it doesn’t sound like the way that the Jets are getting there is all that impressive, check this blurb from Rich Cimini on ESPN.

Sparano got a bit defensive when discussing the offense, insisting it has made significant strides in the running game. Uh, not exactly. The yards per game has increased, but over the last three weeks, the Jets have averaged 3.7 per carry. Over the first nine games, it was 3.8. He sounded so convincing, though.

Yikes.  So essentially it just comes down to the Jets committing to the run, more than the actual returns.  What boggles my mind though is that the Jets offensive line is actually ranking in the top five at creating yards for their ballcarriers.  My answer comes when I look at the running backs rankings.

The Jets offensive line has gotten much  better over the season and Bilal Powell in his limited work is playing effectively, but Shonn Greene continues to be an anchor on this unit.  When I see how the way the running game has performed at this point in the season, I start to realize that the Jets were more serious than I gave them credit about trying to make a move to potentially jump up for Trent Richardson in this past draft.

No matter who the Jets have playing quarterback next year, the Jets are going to have to take a serious look at the running back position and who will be in that grouping next year.  If the running backs can take some pressure away from the Jets quarterback, then maybe that player can set up and use the play action to more devastating effect than we’ve seen this year.

Speaking of which … via Rich Cimini on ESPN.

One of the thoughts with Sanchez is that, if he has a strong running game, he can thrive with play-action passes. That hasn’t been the case. In fact, six of his 13 interceptions came on play-action, per ESPN Stats. He’s 37-for-59, with two TDs and six INTs, a 61.5 passer rating.

/Throws up hands.