Running Backs Approval Rating

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - OCTOBER 23: Shonn Greene #23 of the New York Jets rushes against the San Diego Chargers at MetLife Stadium on October 23, 2011 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

I think the key word with Shonn Greene has always been potential. There are not many running backs who have his ability to run with power along with the second gear he has. For the last two years, Jets fans have been wanting him to emerge as a star. The coaches have said he can be another Michael Turner. It has not happened.

Last season LaDainian Tomlinson started hot and took a lot of his carries. This year other issues have come up. The run blocking has been largely suspect in no small part because of Nick Mangold's injury. There have been too many instances where Greene has been hit in the backfield the instant he gets it. Part of the issue has also been Greene, though. Watching replays of the line, he could have broken a lot more big runs had he read his blocks better and cut the right way. He seems to have trouble cutting. He either tries to bounce things outside or to run over defenders.

The game against San Diego was a major step forward as Shonn ran for over 5 yards per carry. The offensive line opening big holes as it did helped Shonn have his finest game of the year. Real questions exist about whether Greene can be a number one back in the NFL. His pass protection needs to improve. He is also not a great receiver. Mainly, though, I think he needs to have better vision.

I like the job LaDainian Tomlinson is doing in his third down role. He is still a matchup problem for linebackers as a receiver. John Conner did not play much early, but he is doing good work as lead blocker as the Jets have gone to more two back sets. It would be nice to see Joe McKnight worked more into the regular offense instead of spot appearances where everybody knows the ball is going to him.

Greene is the main guy to focus on, though. Can he build on his big game against the Chargers? Can he improve where he needs to do so? Until then, it will be tough to fully approve of the running back position.

Do you agree?

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