Discuss: Is Shonn Greene Good?
Daniel Marcus , theJetsBlog.com
As I was watching SNY’s Jets Post Game Live after the debacle that was the 23-20 win over the Dolphins, analyst Adam Schein raised a question that has occurred to me many times and that was “is Shonn Greene good?” A question to which he and I had a similar answer: “I don’t know.”
For how many years are we going to hear the same story in regards to the fourth-year back out of Iowa? Each year it seems like they plan on making him the “feature back” and every year he seems to shy away from that role.
I have always been under the belief that his head down, run-to-contact running style precludes him from being the guy whom you can give 300 carries a year, but each year I and many others keep cutting him slack and making excuses for why he hasn’t come on like we thought he would after the end of 2009. One year it’s a fumbling problem, the next it’s the line, but this year it’s on him. The offensive line looks like are finally figuring it out and are becoming one of the strengths on his team. The lanes are there for Greene, but he just looks timid and please excuse the funny-sounding analogy but he’s a pussy-footer.
Sunday’s game is what sealed it for me, there were lanes aplenty for him to run, albeit against a premier rushing defense but he waits too long before hitting the hole. This was only emphasized by how Bilal Powell fared in relief of Greene as he racked up 45 yards on 10 carries, a more than respectable 4.5 YPC. The Ground and Pound attack, when it was at its best in 2009 worked well on a rotation although Thomas Jones was the “every down back” he, Leon Washington, and Greene all rotated at certain points. It doesn’t appear that there is a “bell cow” back on the roster but they are few and far between in today’s NFL, a rotation of Greene and Powell with Joe McKnight used as the “change of pace” Leon Washington-type back would be ideal from a couple of perspectives. First and foremost it keeps the backs fresh and it also gives opposing defenses varying looks and running styles to deal with.
Greene, in my mind, is a first and third quarter-type running back, you want his physical, hit you in the mouth running style to wear down the defense until they finally break, which is usually at some point in the third quarter. Some people call what the Jets are trying to do offensively the “Ground and Pound” but a better analogy in my mind, without trying to sound lame is the “Rocky II” offense. Hit the defense with the right hand for two and a half-to-three quarters and then when they are worn down, hit them with the left hand (a fresh back) and rip off some big gains.
However, Tony Sparano must show that he is committed to running the ball and not abandon it because it is those two and three-yard grunt work runs that set up for the home runs later in the games. The Ground and Pound is not dead, it just needs to be tweaked and whipped into shape, sooner rather than later would be preferable.