Jets, Like The Giants in 2004, Got a Gift From San Diego This Offseason

Mike Stainkamp@mikestainkamp34Contributor IOctober 3, 2010

ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 03:  LaDainian Tomlinson #21 of the New York Jets runs against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 3, 2010 in Orchard Park, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images

The Giants got a gift from the San Diego Chargers in 2004 when they traded Eli Manning on draft day to New York. Since then, Manning has had his share of success, winning the Super Bowl in 2007 and keeping the Giants respectable in the NFC East.

This past offseason, the Jets reaped the benefits of the Chargers wanting to get younger by not re-signing LaDainian Tomlinson. I know it's early in the season, but Tomlinson has played the first four weeks with a chip on his shoulder, fighting for every yard he can get when he touches the ball. He knows his career is winding down and he wants to go out with a Super Bowl win.

The way he and the Jets have been playing as of late, the chances of LT pulling a Michael Strahan and Jerome Bettis (both players retired the year after winning the Super Bowl) continue to increase.

Not only has Tomlinson played hard, he has been a vocal leader on the offensive side of the ball this year. He can be seen talking to the younger Shonn Greene on the sidelines, giving him advice and suggestions. He also could be a big part in the development of Joe McKnight, the Jets 2010 draft pick out of USC.

More importantly, Tomlinson has been able to help take pressure off quarterback Mark Sanchez. One of the keys for the Jets this season is ball control. Last season, Sanchez threw too many interceptions. With an effective running game, Sanchez is playing with confidence, as well as limiting his turnovers.

Through the first three games of the 2010 season, Tomlinson has 37 carries for 208 yards. Last season was the first season in his nine-year career in which he did not surpass the 1,000 rushing yard plateau. So far this season, LT is running like the LT of 2002 and 2003 in which he ran for 1,683 and 1,645 yards respectively.

The Jets have an identity to maintain and that identity is hard nosed football. Their defense punishes opposing offenses and their running game pounds away at the opposing offense and eats up the clock. If their running game and defense keep up their impressive play, we will be talking about Gang Green come late January.