MIAMI - SEPTEMBER 26: Running back Shonn Greene #23 of the New York Jets runs against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on September 26 2010 in Miami Florida. (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Let the record show that I am a huge fan of Shonn Greene, the War Machine. I've made no secret of the fact that I think that he could, although obviously highly unlikely, run for 2,000 yards this season with our re-commitment to Ground & Pound. However, in the mean time, I see a lot of people criticizing Greene and decrying his ability to be a "starting running back" in this league. I firmly disagree.
In each of his three years, Greene has increased his total yards from 540 to 766 to 1,054. In each of these years, his carries increased from 108 to 185 to 253, as his role in the offense has increased. First he went from late season back to LaDainian Tomlinson's backup to primary ball carrier. As his role has increased, so too has his production. As the season progresses, he generally gets better and better, especially when he can get into a rhythm during games.
Yet despite this, many people do not view him as a capable back. They point to last season as evidence of this. Which, frankly, I do not get. Greene broke 1,000 yards despite having an injured center and lynchpin to the offensive line (in the beginning of the season), an under performing left tackle, and a non-performing right tackle. In addition, there was almost no threat of a passing game, and zero threat of a deep passing game. Regardless, Greene performed well above average and was almost alone on the offense last year for having a "good year." There are few true feature backs in the league (Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore, Steven Jackson, etc.) yet among the rest, in spite of his circumstances, I do believe Greene stands among the better half remaining. He sure isn't perfect, but for what we need him to do, it's more than adequate.