Shonn Greene, Defense, Must Dominate Last 4 Games for Jets To Make Playoffs

Alan HorvathCorrespondent IDecember 5, 2012

Shonn Greene
Shonn GreeneDavid Welker/Getty Images

Shonn Greene, running back, must enter the final four games of the New York Jets' regular season as their most powerful and pivotal offensive weapon. That distinction has belonged to quarterback Mark Sanchez (aka "The Sanchize"), but following his benching last game a new more effective game plan is in order. Along with the Jets playing smothering defense, that plan must include Greene controlling the game (and clock) whenever they have the football.

The Jets offensive game plan, thus far primarily with Sanchez, has consisted of more passing plays than running (383 passes vs. 363 rushes). It has not worked out well. Jets opponents have out-gained them both in the air (2,380-2,325) and on the ground (1,652-1,382) in total yardage. The results of those numbers have produced a 5-7 record, while being outscored 296-228. Greene has an average of 17.5 carries per game for 67.1 yards—numbers that must rise significantly under the new game plan.

Considering the lack of points produced by the Jets passing attack, and the struggles that Sanchez has had implementing it, going to a power running game could bolster the Jets' non-existent offense. In Greene, at 5'11" and 226 pounds, they have a punishing runner with the quickness to rip off chunks of yardage. If utilized as a featured back, it makes sense that he would stand a better chance of controlling the clock than the current plan. That would provide the Jets defense with more of a breather than a couple of incomplete passes, with a running play mixed in, followed by a punt.

Incorporating the power running game would help whichever quarterback head coach Rex Ryan chooses to go with. It could open up the short passing game for effective screens. Sanchez would benefit from the new game plan by not having to scramble as much while looking for open receivers downfield. As a result, there would be fewer sacks and more completed passes.

If Ryan ever decides to play Greg McElroy again, the pressure on the defense would shift to stopping Greene, instead of an all out swarm aimed at the inexperienced quarterback.

In a sense, a Jets offense dominated by Greene is like having two defenses. The offense that he provides, given that Ryan has the patience to stick with the plan, will keep the opposition's offense off the field. That will strengthen the Jets defense by keeping them fresh.

Again, patience with the power running game is required—no ditching of the plan after a couple of one-yard gains. A steady diet of Greene will wear a defense down. Given the opportunity to dominate on offense, he can lead the Jets playoff charge and be their MVP.