The secret is out. The days of one-running back systems are long gone. As teams shuffle tailbacks in-and-out of game action at a frenzied pace, there is a growing need for quality depth at the halfback position.
The Jets subscribe to the running back by committee philosophy whereby several players could have their number called on any given play.
New York is stockpiling rushing talent, but not in a traditional sense. Rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill, former Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow and second-year wideout Jeremy Kerley are all expected to take part in Gang Green’s newly fashioned Wildcat offense.
Former Baylor running back Terrance Ganaway will join incumbent starter Shonn Greene in the Jets backfield in what has the makings of a powerful one-two rushing punch. Newly hired offensive coordinator Tony Sparano will have several new weapons in his arsenal as the Green-and-White attempt to set a new standard in ground-and-pound football.
There’s little doubt that the Jets rushing output will come from a variety of sources, but the question remains, which player will fill the role as New York’s feature back come regular season play?
The easy answer of course is the team’s current starter Greene. The former Iowa Hawkeye eclipsed the 1,000 yard rushing plateau during the 2011 campaign, but didn’t produce many long-yardage plays or game-breaking runs. In his first year as New York’s starter, Greene tallied six touchdowns, 4.2 yards per carry and 254 touches good for 1,054 yards. The Jets ranked No. 22 in rushing offense producing a shade less than 106 yards on the ground per contest.
Skeptics began questioning Greene’s future in the starting role and New York’s front office made drafting another tailback a top offseason priority. Factor in the probable retirement of former Jets tailback LaDanian Tomlinson and Sparano’s offense will look to lean heavily on Greene and Ganaway this upcoming season.
NFL scouts have marked Ganaway as having the makeup of a starting quality running back capable of taking the punishment and pounding of an every-down back. It’s a safe bet that Greene will remain Gang Green’s feature back, but keep a close eye on Ganaway as he will see significant playing time come the start of the 2012 regular season.
Rick Laughland covers the New York Jets for Greenandwhitereport.com
You can follow him on Twitter @rlaughland
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