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To What Extent Will the New York Jets Stress the Run Game?

There have been some comments in the media this week about the Jets leaning more on the run game. I think there are a few angles to this story.

First, they have thrown the ball 62% of the time. Even if the team was going to give Mark Sanchez more responsibility, throwing that much is in the Mike Martz zone. The Jets have incorporated LaDainian Tomlinson out of the backfield in the short passing game to a degree to replace the run game, but there has not really been an effort to establish things on the ground.

While just running for the sake of running is pointless, I think there is some wisdom to scaling back the passing game a bit. It mainly involves the preservation of Mark Sanchez. Sanchez will never last the season if he keeps getting hit at the rate he is. Without the threat of the run game, pass rushers have been able to fly up the field and play pass. There has been nothing to slow them down. Play action is meaningless if a defense knows it will easily be able to stop a back. Plus, being able to gain yardage on the ground reduces Sanchez's passing attempts and chances for the defense to hit him.

What I hope the Jets do not do is go back completely to the run game at a 2009 rate, overreacting to Sanchez's ugly night in Baltimore. People call ground and pound the Jets' identity. I disagree. It was more of a necessity as Sanchez was not ready to carry the load. He still is not there yet, but he looks ready to take more on. A week when the Jets are facing the worst pass defense in the league is not the time to totally scale back the offense. A really, really good running back averages 5 yards per rushing attempt. A mediocre quarterback averages 6 yards per passing attempt. Being able to throw it usually means a more productive offense as a result.

A good running game can improve the efficiency of the passing game. I hope the Jets should look to do this more than just go to a three yards and a cloud of dust mentality.