Jets running back Shonn Greene is the lead dog in Rex Ryan's ground-and-pound attack. New York's front office was determined to build a triple-threat rushing system this offseason by teaming up Greene with Wildcat quarterback Tim Tebow and sixth-round draft pick Terrance Ganaway. Last season questions mounted regarding Greene's ability to make the leap from a change-of-pace back to the team's feature ballcarrier, yet the former Iowa Hawkeye will have rushing reinforcements to share the backfield with this time around.
In 2011, Greene eclipsed the 1,000 yard rushing plateau for the first time in his three-year NFL career, totaling 1,054 yards on 253 carries including six touchdowns. At first glance Greene's rushing totals appear impressive, but a closer look reveals his inability to produce big yardage plays. Greene recorded only three runs over 20 yards and surpassed the century mark on the ground in just two games during the 2011 regular season.
With their sights set on reclaiming the NFL's top rushing offense, the Jets are counting on Greene to build on a solid, but not spectacular 2011 campaign. Green's rushing workload will likely decrease with the additions of Tebow and Ganaway , who will both be utilized in short yardage and goal line situations. Greene undeservedly shouldered the burden for the Jets fall in the rushing ranks from 1st in 2009, 3rd in 2010 and plummeting to 22nd in 2011.
The inconsistent play of New York's offensive line was major culprit for the Jets rushing woes a season ago. For Gang Green's ground game to ascend to the NFL's elite this upcoming season, it's offensive front will have to elevate its play collectively and absorb the concepts taught by newly hired offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.
The 2012 season marks a crossroads in Greene's young career. The punishing tailback will have a golden opportunity to lead New York back to its ground-and-pound glory days.