For the past three years in the Jets organization, Thomas Jones was able to provide a steady run game for the Jets offense. With a rough start to his career as a New York Jet (2007), Jones consistently ran for over 1000 yards each season but could only score one touchdown. That season, the Jets finished 4-12. The following year with Brett Favre under center, Jones was able to increase his total yards and scored 13 touchdowns. In his final season in New York, Jones increased his total yards rushed and scored 14 touchdowns during the regular season.
In the 2009 NFL Draft at Radio City, the Jets traded up to have the number 5 overall pick, to draft Southern California Quarterback Mark Sanchez. After drafting Sanchez the Jets drafted Shonn Greene (photo) with their second round pick. With the injury of Leon Washington against the Oakland Raiders in October, Greene rose to the occasion to fill the slot of the speedy running back. That day, he rushed for 144 yards in 19 attempts.
This week, the Jets released Jones who at the end of the season was not aging well. During the playoff practices Greene and Jones shared the carries but when the games arrived, Green took about 33% more snaps than Jones. Against the Bengals and Chargers, Greene rushed over 230 yards in 54 attempts. Jones on the other hand was dealing with a knee injury and could only rush up to 117 yards in 45 attempts.
With Leon Washington returning this upcoming season, the Jets are still planning to enforce their "ground and pound" game strategy. Although injured in the postseason, Thomas Jones was able to provide the entire season with hard rushing up the gut while Shonn Greene would be the speed back. With a passing game lacking wide receivers, the run game is what made the Jets an amazing and well-known team throughout the year but without the preverbal hammer in the back field,a large piece of their game plan has , even with the return of Leon Washington.
It is unclear at this point what the Jets will choose to do about their running back situation but with veteran linemen like Alan Faneca and Nick Mangold to lead the way, perhaps they can have a successful year and a super bowl victory in February.