Although the running game just barely broke 100 yards against Oakland, this is obviously no longer the overpowering ground and pound attack that was Rex's signature. In 2009 the team rushed for 100 or less yards 3 times. In 2010 the team rushed for 100 or less yards twice. In 3 games this season the Jets have rushed for 100 yards, 101 yards and 45 yards. If you take Mark Sanchez out of the equation the Jets would have had just 72 yards against Jacksonville and 99 against Oakland. LDT has nearly as many receiving yards, 196, as the team does total rushing, 246.
So I thought it would be interesting to break down yesterday's runs and see what kind of position the runs struggles has put the team into. I'm using Yahoo's box score and play by play breakdown, so if things are different then you remember yell at them.
1st-10, OAK40 11:16 S. Greene rushed to the left for 1 yard loss
From the Jets first drive, they passed on two consecutive first downs and got 15 and 25 yards. This was followed up by 2 straight incomplete passes by Sanchez ending the drive.
1st-15, NYJ24 8:20 S. Greene rushed up the middle for 1 yard gain
1st play of the 2nd drive, the Jets take a penalty putting them at 1st and 15. On 2nd and 14 Sanchez completed a 74 yard pass to LDT putting the Jets on the 1 yard line and leading to the next play
1st-1, OAK1 7:07 S. Greene rushed up the middle for no gain
Sanchez ran it in on the next play.
1st-15, NYJ16 2:28 S. Greene rushed to the left for 12 yard gain
2nd-3, NYJ28 1:58 S. Greene rushed to the left for 2 yard gain
The 3rd drive of the game was probably one of the best for the rushing attack. Jets get another 5 yard penalty to begin the drive, but Greene makes it up and more on first down. On 3rd and 1 Sanchez completed a 19 yard pass to Holmes. Then following a 15 yard penalty on Oakland:
1st-10, OAK36 0:35 S. Greene rushed to the left for 9 yard gain
(2nd Quarter) 2nd-1, OAK27 14:57 J. Conner rushed up the middle for 3 yard gain
Sanchez threw an incompletion on the following first and an Oakland penalty setup:
1st-10, OAK19 14:04 S. Greene rushed to the left for 1 yard gain
Which was followed by Sanchez's TD Pass to LDT.
2nd-6, 50 9:17 S. Greene rushed to the right for 15 yard gain
This is from the 4th drive, following a short completion to Mason. This was Greene's longest rush of the day and of the season. Sanchez followed this up with 3 passes, a short pass to Mason, incompletion and first down pass to Mason. Leading to:
1st-10, OAK23 7:08 S. Greene rushed up the middle for 12 yard gain
So out of the last 6 rushes, Greene has gone off for 12, 9, 15 and 12 yards with a 1 and 2 yard rush mixed in. This run was followed by:
1st-10, OAK11 6:31 L. Tomlinson rushed up the middle for 7 yard gain
2nd-3, OAK4 5:52 L. Tomlinson rushed up the middle for 1 yard gain
This was followed up by an incompletion on 3rd and short leading to Folk's FG.
1st-10, NYJ30 2:47 S. Greene rushed to the right for 2 yard gain
This was the one run attempt on the Jets 5th drive. Sanchez followed it up with a competion to Greene for 1 yard and an incompletion.
(3rd Quarter) 2nd-5, NYJ26 14:52 J. Kerley rushed to the right for 2 yard loss
This was the Jets only rush in their 6th drive, although it should be noted that Sanchez completed 2 passes to Greene for a total of 14 yards.
1st-10, NYJ48 9:34 L. Tomlinson rushed to the left for 4 yard gain
This is only the 3rd time in the game that a Jet run on first down has given them a manageable 2nd down. Sanchez followed it up with an incompletion and sack to end the drive
I want to do a somewhat interesting comparison when it comes to the 8th drive. Here's all the rushes:
1st-10, NYJ20 6:45 S. Greene rushed to the right for 1 yard gain
1st-10, NYJ39 4:47 S. Greene rushed to the right for 1 yard gain
1st-10, OAK45 3:58 S. Greene rushed to the left for 3 yard gain
Meanwhile during the same drive here are pass receptions by Greene:
1st-10, NYJ24 5:22 M. Sanchez passed to S. Greene down the middle for 15 yard gain
2nd-7, OAK42 3:15 M. Sanchez passed to S. Greene to the left for 5 yard gain
Although the drive ended on two incompletions by Sanchez, it's apparent that getting Greene the ball with some more room to work with is only helping him. People used to rail on Andy Reid about his reliance on the pass, but they weren't watching the Eagles team at the time. Reid would use the pass to get Westbrook out in the open where he proceeded to work his magic. With the Raiders dominating the weakened Jets O-Line, they should have attacked the flanks more.
(4th Quarter) 1st-10, NYJ20 14:48 L. Tomlinson rushed to the right for 5 yard gain
2nd-5, NYJ25 14:10 S. Greene rushed to the right for no gain
This is following the Raiders 2 TDs in 42 seconds. It's also the 4th time in the game that the Jets were put in a second and short by their running game. A pass to Mason on 3rd got the first, but Sanchez was sacked and put the Jets in a 2-19 they couldn't dig out of.
1st-10, NYJ7 8:31 L. Tomlinson rushed up the middle for 20 yard gain
This is the next to last drive of the game that ended with a TD. Sanchez sandwhiched 2 incompletions between 2 completions for over 10 yards. Following a 12 yard pass to Keller on 3rd and 10:
1st-10, OAK36 7:21 L. Tomlinson rushed up the middle for 1 yard gain
This was only the 2nd time in the game that LDT went for 1 yard or less. I can't blame them for going back to the well and trying LDT again. Sanchez completed 2 passes for a total of 18 yards after this.
2nd-2, OAK17 6:03 S. Greene rushed up the middle for 1 yard gain
I swear the Jets always got the first down with the rush in a situation like this last year. It feels like a bad time to run as Sanchez is starting to get a rhythm going and every second on the clock is important. Following this Sanchez completes a TD Pass to Burress.
The Jets did not run on the final drive, except for Sanchez's desperation scramble.
The problem seems to be that the run just isn't working. I don't think the problem is Greene or LDT either. The Jets just aren't getting into 2nd and 6 or less at all with the running game. Maybe my memory isn't the best, but these last two years it seemed like the Jets always got at least 2 or 3 yards from a rush. 11 times the Jets rushed yesterday and got 1 yard or less. The Jets had a total of 25 rushes yesterday. Greene rushed 15 times yesterday and 8 times rushed for 1 yard or less.
The Jets struggles with the run is asking more and more of Sanchez. So far this season he's been stepping up to an incredible level. But if the line is going to struggle due to injuries (although it was struggling before Mangold went down) then it's time to start going outside the tackles. It's not the ground and pound, it's not what Rex Ryan preaches, but something has to be done differently. You can't keep running two backs who have had injury issues headfirst into a brick wall over and over and expect a different result.