Who Will Be the Number Two Back?

We discussed LaDainian Tomlinson's desire to start yesterday. Barring an injury to Shonn Greene, that seems unlikely. Greene is by far the most complete runner on the roster. The real question is who will get the carries behind Greene. Most teams split carries between a pair of backs in today's NFL. It doesn't seems likely a third back will get too many touches. Even when they ran the ball more than any team in the league with a rookie quarterback in 2009, the Jets used two runners. Greene did not break into the rotation until Leon Washington's injury.

There are two primary candidates behind Greene. The first is Tomlinson. The second is Joe McKnight. Both enter the year with question marks. Tomlinson's are based on whether he still can play. It's a real question. He was one of the least effective runners in the league with the Chargers last season. He can come up with all of the excuses he wants. The fact is he was terrible. Maybe his run blocking wasn't great, but he was near the bottom of the league at things he could control like breaking tackles and making guys miss. Maybe the Chargers were a pass first team, but shouldn't that have helped? He didn't see any eight man fronts. Maybe he didn't get as many touches as in the past, but he was plenty effective earlier in his career in games where he didn't carry the ball often.

McKnight enters with his own questions. A lot of people will point to his lack of conditioning for his first rookie camp. It probably got blown out of proportion, but any rookie needs to adjust to the speed of the NFL game. Can he adjust and show the form that made him a dominant runner at times at USC?

I see Tomlinson starting the year as the second back as the Jets still seem to think he has something left in the tank and McKnight taking over the job at some point near the middle or end of the season. How do you think this will play out?

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