Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson Must Bring Best Effort for Jets to Keep Pace


September 25, 2010

Shonn Greene, LaDainian Tomlinson Must Bring Best Effort for Jets to Keep Pace Last week, the New York Jets had an offensive transformation against the Patriots. This week, however, likely won't be the same.

With first place on the line, and perhaps without wide receiver Braylon Edwards, the Jets head to Miami on Sunday night to try to wrestle first place away from the upstart Dolphins.

Last week, the Jets overcame an abysmal offensive Week 1 by lighting up a suspect New England defense. Quarterback Mark Sanchez was downright awful against a top-notch Baltimore defense in the first week, but rebounded last week to put up gaudy pass numbers against an inexperienced Patriot secondary.

Chances are, Sanchez will look more like Week 1 Sanchez on Sunday night than the Week 2 version.

The Miami pass defense is one of the best in the game. They head into action Sunday with the sixth-best passing defense in the league. They've allowed only 162 passing yards a game through the year. They've sacked the quarterback six times and forced four turnovers.

In short, it won't easy for No. 6 on Sunday night.

The best chance for the Jets to tie Miami atop the division? Run the football. And run it well.

The two-back attack that is Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson need to have their best game of the young season on Sunday. With Edwards' snaps being limited, maybe even cut out completely following a DWI arrest this week, the Jets will lose a major dimension to their offense. And with that stingy Miami pass defense, that makes the need for an effective running attack that much more important.

The Jets were expected to be a running team before the season. And while they've shown an ability to run the ball effectively at times — like in the second half of the Patriots game — they'll need a complete effort on Sunday night considering not much will be there for them through the air.

Greene especially will need to be better. Following a breakout rookie season in which he ran for 540 yards on only 108 carries, Greene was a sexy pick to enter the NFL's elite at the position. Instead, he's only ran for 70 yards on 20 carries through the two games. Expect the Jets to try and establish Greene early on, especially against a Dolphin rush defense that is allowing more than 100 yards per game.

If Greene continues his lackluster ways, the Jets do have an impressive No. 2 in Tomlinson. The 31-year-old is having a resurgence, one that defies NFL running back logic. Regardless, Tomlinson has already amassed 138 yards through two weeks. If he can keep that pace up, the Jets will surely be happy, but expecting anything more may be a bit off-base.

It doesn't matter who does it, someone, maybe both backs, must step up if the Jets want to keep pace in the AFC East race. If they aren't able to do so, they'll have to put their stock in Sanchez and the pass offense. If that's the case, the Jets may find themselves two games back when they wake up Monday morning.

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