Should New York Jets Ride Joe McKnight While Shonn Greene Rides the Pine?

Antonio BonkalskiContributor IIINovember 28, 2011

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - NOVEMBER 27:  Shonn Greene #23 of the New York Jets rund with the ball as  Nick Barnett #50 of the Buffalo Bills defends during their game on November 27, 2011 at  MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

The New York Jets have put their trust in running back Shonn Greene, and after two seasons at the helm Greene has not shown significant improvement.

Gang Green has been waiting for their young standout from Iowa to emerge into the running back they saw in the playoffs from a year's past. 

Now the Jets are beginning to give more and more touches to the younger Joe McKnight, who has become one of the most electrifying football players to watch this season. 

The question here is whom should the Jets go with? 

The answer isn't an obvious one or a solid one, at that. The Jets refuse to give up on Greene, who has had his share of chances to perform well as the lead man in the Jets offense, but after a consistently inconsistent career thus far, the Jets only can give him so much of a leash to work with.

Greene has shown at times during the season that he can be the main back with his uncanny ability to find the holes and explode through them with power, but he also showed his other side, which is filled with zero-yard gains and touchdown-less performances.

With only two touchdowns on the season, is it time to give McKnight a chance as the featured back?

The answer is no.

Greene has not performed up to the expectations he set in the playoffs two seasons ago, but he also is a solid back to keep.

If McKnight is the lead back, the Jets will not have a better rushing offense. McKnight is the explosive-play type, but at this point in his career he is not an every-down back. 

Greene may not be the best of the every-down backs, but he is trustworthy. He will not bust open may big gains (he only has two 20-plus runs this season), but he will not turn over the ball, either. He only has one fumble this season on his 161 attempts. Also, Greene is averaging 4.0 yards per carry, leading the Jets.

It may not be what every fan of the team expected, but Greene is a solid back to have. The Jets should not give into the fans need of a flashy player as the starter because though McKnight has that explosive ability to bust open a long run, he does not have that every-down, grind-it-out ability to get a couple yards consistently.

For now, the Jets should keep their running game in the hands of Greene and have LaDainian Tomlinson and McKnight there as catching and change-of-pace backs. Once the Jets offensive line becomes as solid as it once was, Greene will benefit tremendously.