Shonn Greene shot me that I-know-you-didn’t-say-what-I-thought-you-said look when I broached the topic about tweaking his running style to better preserve his body.
The Jets have a stingy defense and a promising young quarterback, but Greene is likely the most irreplaceable piece to its championship puzzle.
For a run-heavy team with Super Bowl aspirations, it’s imperative that the bruising second-year running back stays healthy. So, I proposed a few hypothetical scenarios designed to avoid contact and keep Greene on the field for the duration of the season.
Each of my suggestions was summarily dismissed.
"We don’t run out of bounds," Greene told me. "I’ve been taught that all my life…. I don’t think that’s going to help the way I play by doing that. If I just go out and do what I do, everything else will take care of itself."
"That’s what I do," he added. "I play the game of football. You can’t worry, ‘Oh, what if I do this? What if I run out of bounds?’ No, that’s not the game of football to me. Football is a hard-nosed game."
It's an interesting debate as to what is the best approach. Taking a pounding consistently shortens a back's shelf life. Even so, a guy like Greene wouldn't be as effective if he didn't pound on the defense. What would a finesse approach really be preserving?
Players need to find their own style to be effective. That's why I didn't like to hear that Dustin Keller bulked up last offseason to improve his run blocking. Potentially losing some of the athleticism that made him valuable as a pass catcher was troublesome since he would probably never be a good blocker. Greene provides the most value pounding on defenses. Give me the most effective Shonn Greene, even if it means a shorter prime.