Unfortunately for Rex Ryan, losing star players like Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes for the year has severely handicapped their chances, with inexperienced and/or ineffective players having to carry more of the load.
It hasn’t been all bad. Young wideout Jeremy Kerley, for one, has stepped up and played excellent football this year, as the 23-year-old has been a breath of fresh air in an otherwise dormant Jets offense.
One player whose play has been criticized this season is starting running back Shonn Greene. After a slow, plodding start to the season, there were rumblings that Greene’s playing time could shrink if he didn’t get it going.
Second-year running back Bilal Powell (#29, above ) has looked good in relief of Greene, but he suffered a dislocated shoulder in the Jets’ Week 6 game, and he’s been on the shelf ever since.
Third-stringer Joe McKnight suffered a high ankle sprain in the same game, though he toughed it out and played in Week 7 before re-aggravating his ankle injury in the first quarter of the Week 8 game.
To his credit, Shonn Greene has played like a man possessed since then, rushing for a solid 4.6 yards per carry and four touchdowns in his last three games, including 5.0 ypc or better in two of those last three games.
That’s compared to his 2.9 ypc over the first five weeks with only one touchdown in that span.
As the Jets enter their bye week, they have to be pleased with Greene’s uptick in production. But he’s never proven he can be a true workhorse running back. They need complimentary backs to keep him fresh.
With Powell missing the last two games, and McKnight banged up himself, the Jets used rookie Jonathan Grimes as an extra running back, but he only saw 11 total snaps and had 4 total touches in two weeks.
However, it appears the Jets expect to have Powell back in the lineup when they come back from their bye week, because they released Grimes this week. They wouldn’t do that unless they were certain Powell would suit up.
The Jets also released reserve defensive tackle Daniel Muir, who had been filling in for second-year man Kenrick Ellis, who appears to be ready to return from a knee injury next week as well.
Powell was off to a fine start here in 2012, and the Jets will be a better offense having him in there. Of course, there’s a lot more that needs fixing on that side of the ball. But having another healthy running back sure doesn’t hurt.
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