Looking Ahead: Jets 2013 Running Backs

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins

Over the next few days, we’ll take a look at each position on the Jets roster and take a look ahead at what the Jets might expect and might need to address this coming offseason. Up next, the running backs.

Coming Off The Books

Shonn Greene — Throughout his career, Shonn Greene has done the same thing over the last three years. When the opportunity to carry the load for this team was placed on his shoulders at the outset of the season, Greene sloughed it off and is only able to pick it up once the team and offensive line is in a groove. Greene has some talent and is a nice battering ram type player, but had his production regress from last year in his pass catching (how much of that though was Sanchez?) and hasn’t done much to set him apart from the line that does most of the work for him. Greene has moved up the rankings, but much of the season was stuck around 30th in the league in production. Pro Football Focus ranks Greene 46th in the league this year due to performance … yowch. Greene might be a nice piece for the Jets moving forward, but it can’t be as a “bell cow” that Ryan has talked up for years. The Jets were supposedly interested in moving up to get Trent Richardson during the draft — and now I fully understand why. The Jets need a dynamic player who can should a serious workload if Ryan is going to stay as the head coach of this team. There was a time when I thought Greene could be that player, but the Jets need to save their money for a more capable at the spot and reallocate elsewhere. Low priority to re-sign.

On The Books

Joe McKnight — McKnight has been nagged most of the season by injuries, but his role as a special teamer is important for the Jets. It was telling when the Jets tried out McKnight for a week after Darrelle’s injury as a cornerback. With Greene struggling, the Jets regained their senses, but it gives you a sense of what the Jets think of McKnight. He’s a good depth player for the team and might have a versatile set of skills but they don’t see him as a featured player in the offense. McKnight has done a good job in his career with returning kicks and can be a change of pace for the current unit out of the backfield. Still, this was a year McKnight could have taken on a larger role and he was demoted to work behind Bilal Powell. McKnight at his current salary makes total sense to keep on the roster since they will have to prioritize elsewhere. Focus into special teams role and offensive package (Kerley-McKnight Pistol/Read-Option/Wildcat) work.

Bilal Powell — Powell was a player that we were told by Andrew Garda last year had a lot of promise for the Jets and this year that promise was realized. PFF ranked Powell well ahead of Greene (29th to 46th, respectively) and could be a larger force at a bargain price for the next few years. Powell has not yet gotten the chance to prove whether or not he can be an every-down back in the NFL, but he has proven that he can share the workload and excel in such a role. At the least, the Jets have 1/2 of their carries nailed down, now it will be for the Jets to look for another player in a thinly talented RB draft or through free agency to figure out who the other big piece will be. Increase role.

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