Can Shonn Greene Carry the Load?

Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. wrote an article a few days back questioning whether Shonn Greene can handle an increased role.

Greene is big and physical. He is built to take a pounding. He needs to be a volume runner to excel. Greene runs behind an offensive line as good as any as you will find in the NFL and is in an offense geared to take the burden off the Jets' young quarterback. To me, this should be the perfect combination for Greene to excel. He didn't last season.

....

Greene's liabilities in the passing game also hurt him. He didn't catch a regular-season pass as a rookie in 14 games and racked up just 16 receptions in 15 regular-season games last year. He can't run a variety of routes, nor does he have naturally soft hands. In protection, he is average at best.

I think Williamson makes some good points, but I also think he is too hard on Greene overall. Shonn's carries were somewhat more limited than expected, but it seemed like a case of LaDainian Tomlinson winning the starting job more than Greene losing it. Then the coaching staff did not seem to recognize LT wearing down.

It is always a danger to take what happened one year and assume it will always happen. That is why so many of the prognosticators end up looking really bad when making preseason predictions.

Greene looked strong down the stretch, averaging 4.7 yards per carry in his last four games including Playoffs. There are not many backs powerful like him who possess the kind of second gear he owns. Williamson questions whether the Jets taking Bilal Powell was a sign they lack confidence in the Iowa product. I just think it is a case of giving the team an option to spell Shonn and give him a longer shelf life since his contact seeking style makes the hits really add up through the years.

Williamson is absolutely correct that he needs to improve as a receiver and especially as a pass protector. His inability to do so forced the team to bring back LaDainian Tomlinson. I am not down on Shonn, though. Are you?

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