New York Jets: What To Do With All Those Running Backs?

One the of more crowded positions on the Jets roster heading into the 2011 season will be running back, where four players will be battling for reps and touches. Let’s take a quick look at the depth chart —

1. Shonn Greene

  • 2010 stats – 185 carries, 766 yards, 2 touchdowns.
  • 3rd year veteran, strong inside runner who has an ability to wear down a defense and pop a big run.
  • Struggles with consistency, fumbling, and injuries.

Greene is coming off a disappointing 2010 season where he never seized the starting job. Rex Ryan has been on record has saying Greene will be his “bell cow” this season and that the starting job is his to lose. It will be interesting to see how he can handle 17-20 carries on a weekly basis if the Jets give him that opportunity.

2. LaDainian Tomlinson

  • 2010 stats – 219 carries, 914 yards, 6 touchdowns.
  • Future hall of famer, great vision and quickness. Excellent receiver out of the backfield.
  • Aging, struggled down the stretch last season.

Tomlinson exceeded expectations last year, especially in the first half of the season. He gradually began to wear down but still was productive in the playoffs. Tomlinson has already publicly embraced the role of third down back and is a valuable leader on the Jets offense.

3. Joe McKnight

  • 2010 stats – 39 carries, 189 yards
  • 2010 4th round draft pick, selected for speed, big play ability, and receiving skills.
  • Overwhelmed in rookie year and never made any signifigant contributions.

Everybody is waiting to see if Joe McKnight’s rookie struggles will provide a kick in the butt for him in year two. He has plenty of talent and potential but can he carve out a role for himself in the Jets offense? Hopefully, he can contribute on outside handoffs or tosses, screens, and use his receiving ability occasionally in the slot.

4. Bilal Powell

  • 2011 4th round pick
  • Had monster senior season at Louisville after three quiet years.
  • Similar running style to Shonn Greene.

The Powell selection surprised many but the Jets are hoping he can develop into Shonn Greene’s long term backup, while McKnight works into being the third down back eventually. Powell could have a shot to make an impact his rookie year if there are injuries or McKnight struggles in training camp again.

Author: Joe Caporoso

Joe Caporoso is the Owner and EIC of Turn On The Jets. His writing has been featured in the New York Times, Huffington Post, MMQB and AdWeek. Caporoso played football his entire life, including four years at Muhlenberg as a wide receiver, where he was arguably the slowest receiver to ever start in school history. He is the VP of Social Media at Whistle Sports