What Happened To The Ground And Pound?


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One of the most encouraging aspects of the Jets since the beginning of the Rex Ryan era, is that they developed a distinct identity as a football team. The Jets are going to be built around an aggressive defense and running the football. The Ground and Pound. When they strayed from the formula last year, they began to struggle and when they went back to it, they made their run to the AFC Championship Game.

This reality makes it particularly perplexing how pass happy the Jets offense has been this season. Encouraged by the progress Mark Sanchez demonstrated against New England, Miami, and Buffalo, Brian Schottenheimer has forgotten the Jets identity and began to ignore his running game. The Jets pride themselves on the talent of their offensive line and running backs, yet they haven’t had a back with 20 carries in their past two games, as a matter of fact only twice this season has a Jets back reached 20 carries.

Shonn Greene, the Jets young power running back who is supposed to wear down defenses and keep LaDainian Tomlinson fresh for the end of the season has seen his role gradually decline in the offense. After a season high 22 carries against Buffalo, he received 10 against Minnesota, 9 against Denver, and then only 6 against Green Bay.

Mark Sanchez threw 44 passes against the Vikings, completing only 21 of them. 30 passes against Denver, completing only 17 of them and then finally 38 against the Packers, with only 16 completions. Are you seeing what I am seeing in the math? It might be time for Sanchez to be throwing 20-25 passes a game and for LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene to combine for 35-40 carries.

The Jets need to get back to their identity. They will be a more productive with Tomlinson and Greene leading the charge, followed by Sanchez utilizing their weapons in the passing game off play action and when defenses stack the box.

How about that ground and pound, Rex?

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 EVP of Content at Whistle Sports