The dramatic way in which the Jets won their opening week game against the Cowboys can cause observers to look away from some of the team’s problems. Had Tony Romo not greatly helped the Jets with two late-game turnovers, the tune would have been a lot different. And one of the areas that would have been a big talking point throughout this week, and still should be, was the Jets’ running game in Week 1, which was downright putrid.
The Jets ran for just 45 yards against Dallas, a number that needs to significantly increase as the season goes on. The Jets headed into this season with Shonn Greene penned as the featured back. And while Greene has shown flashes through his first two professional seasons, he has done little to prove that he can be a true number one NFL running back. His 26 yards on 10 carries in Week 1 simply wasn’t good enough.
Teams in today’s NFL need more than just one productive back, and the Jets’ number two, LaDainian Tomlinson, is aging quickly. Tomlinson did show some pep in Week 1, but mainly as a pass catcher. That is a great role for Tomlinson at this point in his career, but what happens if Greene continues to be ineffective? Rex Ryan and Brian Schottenheimer seem reluctant, to put it lightly, to give second year halfback Joe McKnight a chance. If Greene can’t prove to be a consistent feature back, Tomlinson will have to get more carries than the Jets, and perhaps his legs, would like him to.
Sunday’s matchup with the Jaguars presents a big opportunity for Greene and the Jets’ offensive line to put forward a good ground effort. Make no mistake, the Jaguars have a very solid defense, holding the Titans’ Chris Johnson to just 24 yards in Week 1, while allowing just 43 total rushing yards. But in a game that figures to see the Jets defense control things against the Luke McCown-led Jacksonville offense, the Jets should see a lot of the ball. A good performance on the ground by the Jets would go a long way in helping them move to 2-0.
If it’s more of the same, the concerns could start turning into real problems.