How to Improve the Running Game?

Brian Bassett , TheJetsBlog.com

It’s no secret that the Jets have not been as successful running the ball as they could be.  This weekend they are going to take on another very tough opponent when it comes to running the ball in the Niners and their excellent linebacking corps.  Here’s some thoughts on how they can continue to push forward even this weekend against Patrick Willis and the Niners.

The Education of Austin Howard — Given the situation that the Jets put Austin Howard in to earn the starting job away from Wayne Hunter, he’s performed well enough so far.  Howard has put together some nice blocks and while still making some mistakes from time to time, is playing decently.  At the very least Howard is no worse than Hunter was and could yet prove to be a more dominant force in the running game.  The Jets need to continue to focus on Howard’s development and using their backups like Jason Smith during the course of the game to help Howard avoid costly mistakes.

Moving On? – Instead Rex Ryan telling the world that Shonn Greene deserves to be the team’s lead back, let him prove it – or rather let some of the other guys try and disprove it.   The line isn’t playing amazing football, but it’s not playing so bad that Greene has nothing to do with it.  Greene has performed extremely poorly, averaging just 2.8 yards per carry.  So who’s it going to be?  While we understand that the McKnight move to cornerback was a desperate play given the dire situation this week, the Jets are moving one of their best pass catching runners right out of a spot where he could be quite effective for the Jets every week … and this weekend in particular.  Bilal Powell has more than proven he’s a capable contributing player for the Jets so look to see how many reps he gets compared to Greene this weekend. It might be too soon to activate a player like Jonathan Grimes since he’s just picking up the offense, but the Jets must think highly enough of him to have put in a waiver claim on him back at cutdowns which they then rescinded.  Of course, then again Grimes could also represent nothing more than intel on their next week opponent.

Stop It Already With the Ducasse Nonsense — Last week the Jets gave Vlad Ducasse rotational play the Left Guard spot.  Right now the Jets interior of the line is not playing any better than the overall unit, so why continue it?  Lineman crave consistency and rotating an interior player every third series is not helping matters.  The Jets need to make a call at the spot and play one or the other.  So why do they continue to do it?  Because the Jets are staring at unrestricted free agency for both Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore next offseason.

Find a Role for Tebow — Tebow was brought in to be this change of pace player for the Jets, and so far the team has barely used him in the Wildcat role that was so important to the Jets to trade for him in the first place.  The thought was that Tebow creates a threat because he might actually throw the ball.  So far Tebow hasn’t attempted a pass out of his spread option / Wildcat package so far this season.  Last week the Jets saw 12 snaps, many as an H-Back … while the team doesn’t see Tebow as a tailback, is there any way that the Jets can move their Wildcat/Spread Option forward?