ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 06: Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets hands off to John Conner #38 for a touchdown against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 6, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York.New York won 27-11. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
I know it's been a while since I have come out with a new edition to this series. It was my thinking that I hit on all the guys I thought would breakout this year. I am now convinced I have missed one. Plus, there is very little to talk about for the next 29 days, so sit back and enjoy.
In the prime of the Rex Ryan, "ground and pound", there was Tony Richardson. With T-Rich came the leadership of a general and the skill of a Hall of Famer. He led the way to one of the most effective running games in the league in 2009 and 2010. It's unfortunate that T-Rich came to the Jets so late in his career. We could have been even more dangerous if we had his leadership and skills while he was in his prime. When he retired, his replacement was already waiting to step in.
John Conner was said to be Rex Ryan's pick all the way. The story goes, that Rex was watching tape of a RB, and saw John Conner laying some powerful hits on defenders. It was love at first sight. It's now the off-season of 2012, and it's hard to say where John Conner stands. It's hard to go from a 1st ballot Hall of Famer, to a rookie. Everyone expected the same kind of production and leadership.This was made exponentially worse by Hard Knocks. The show gave off the impression that Conner was going to kill everything he touched. That was obviously not the case. There have been a number of missed blocks, and countless dropped balls, in Conner's short career.
All in all, he hasn't been amazing, but he has been serviceable. We can't forget that Conner will be going into his 3rd year, and only his 2nd full training camp. He has been working on his fundamentals, and assignments. John's focus is on doing his job and handling himself like a pro. He doesn't need to be a locker room leader like T-Rich was. He wants to be his own man, and lead through example. Conner will be a big part of our offense this year. The plan is to get back to the "ground and pound." In order for that to work, Conner will need to become the bulldozer he was brought in to be. I believe he will do just that. Now that he has had the time to settle into his role, he will thrive when called upon.