Running out of Time: How Much Time Does Shonn Greene Have Left to Prove Himself?

Cole TesslerCorrespondent ISeptember 22, 2011

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 25:  Shonn Greene #23 of the New York Jets celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders during an NFL game at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 25, 2009 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Some players play well in the regular season,but when it comes to the postseason, they choke and succumb to the pressure.

There are those players, then there's the complete opposite of those players, Shonn Greene. 

Shonn Greene has been vital to the Jets in the 2009 and 2010 playoffs, but when he's had his shot in the regular season, he's choked. 

In the 2009 playoffs, Shonn Greene was the Jets' most valuable player. He lead the offense to victories over Bengals and Chargers by rushing for 263 yards in those games combined. Everyone thought that the Jets had their new star running back going into the 2010 season. 

Jets fans got a rude awakening in the season opener of the 2010 season when Greene rushed for 18 yards on five carries and turned the ball over on a fumble.

Ladainian Tomlinson, who the Jets brought in to become a third-down running back, soon became the feature back for the Jets. Greene still got a fair amount of carries rushing for 766 yards and would only score two touchdowns in the regular season.

Like the playoffs in 2009, Greene stepped up again. He would get 17 carries and rush for 76 yards against the Patriots, and score a critical touchdown that sealed the deal for the Jets.

He would also rush nine times for 52 yards in the loss against the Steelers in the AFC championship.

Like the year before, the Jets named Shonn Greene their feature back. And also like the year before, they are getting disappointed.


Greene has only rushed for 76 yards on 26 carries in two games. That adds up to a lackluster 2.9 yards a carry which is the fourth worst among running backs with at least 20 carries.

The ground and pound is essential to the Jets for a variety of reasons, especially for Mark Sanchez. It takes time off the clock, it helps ease a lot of pressure off Sanchez for second and third downs and helps him establish the play-action pass.

Without the ground and pound this year, Sanchez has been put into numerous third and long situations, and has turned the ball over four times already. He's also been expected to throw the ball a lot more. By the third week last year, Sanchez only threw the ball 51 times heading into Week 3. This year heading into Sunday he's thrown the ball 88 times.

Sanchez is also 28th in ESPN's total quarterback rating with just a 31.6. Last year with the ground and pound he was 18th.  

With Green's lack of production and its affect on Sanchez, if Greene wants to make a statement that he should be the feature back, he should make it soon.

Luckily for Greene, he's heading back to the place where he showed his first glimmer of promise when he rushed for 144 yards in his rookie season against the Raiders. Also luckily for Greene, the Raiders gave up 217 rushing yards to the Bills last week.

Unfortunately for Greene, he will most likely be without All Pro center Nick Mangold, which will most likely hurt the running game.

The Jets need Greene and the ground and pound though in order to win against the Raiders and compete for another Super Bowl.

This means Greene may only have a couple more weeks to prove himself to be the feature back. If not, then they may see if LT can do as well as he did last season. They can also see what they can do with backs Joe McKnight and rookie Bilal Powell.

Worst case scenario, the Jets can just bench Greene every season until the playoffs come around.