I don’t expect the game plan from Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to change this Sunday when New York travels to San Diego to take on the Chargers.
What we saw in the last two wins over the Bengals is New York Jets football as we know it now. QB Mark Sanchez is responsible for three routes: the 3-step slant, the 9-route down the field to WR Braylon Edwards and the movement routes — such as the boot and the play-action game.
It’s simple and it’s effective because the Jets can run the ball so efficiently and with production.
But it’s time for rookie Shonn Greene to become the feature attraction in the Jets backfield. I’m not trying to take away anything from Thomas Jones, who can move the sticks, but from my perspective Greene looks fresher and more explosive when he gets to the second level, and his vision out of the backfield reminds me of veteran running backs.
Even trying to put my bias aside for a fellow Iowa Hawkeye, I think Greene’s production — on a playoff stage — speaks for itself.
Against the Bengals, Greene carried the ball 21 times for 135 yards, including a 39-yard TD run on a flip pitch that showed us the difference between running a 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and running in pads on the field.
However, outside of that one run, it was obvious from my perspective that Greene was hitting the hole with more explosion, and once he did get to the second level, he kept his pads low and finished runs. I’ve talked about top NFL backs being “one-cut” runners — as in, they take a handoff, make one cut and get downhill. They don’t dance, and they don’t waste time making a decision with the football in their hands. The Vikings’ Adrian Peterson is a “one-cut” runner as was the Titans’ Chris Johnson this season.
Greene was that on wild-card weekend. And if I’m Schottenheimer, I use him as a first option out of the backfield Sunday in the power game that the Jets have installed since day one of training camp.
Yes, Jones without a doubt will still be a factor if the Jets are going to pull the upset. Good running teams need to have a balance and need to have fresh legs in the backfield, but that still doesn’t discount the fact that I would rely on Greene to get me the most production out of the game plan.
Ride the rookie and don’t change what’s worked if you are the Jets. A simple passing scheme, take one chance per half down the field with Edwards and continue to rely on the ability of the running backs.
Just use Greene as the feature back.
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