Coming off their strongest rushing performance of the season in Week Six, the New York Jets now find themselves paper-thin at the running back position. Joe McKnight suffered a high ankle sprain at the end of his 61-yard scamper last week and third-down specialist Bilal Powell separated his shoulder in the first half of New York’s 35-9 romping of Indianapolis. While Rex Ryan has yet to rule either tailback out for Sunday’s divisional clash with New England, they have both been held out practice throughout the week.
“Both of those guys won’t practice today,” Ryan told reporters on Thursday. “We’ll see how the week goes on, if they’ll be available or not.”
New Jersey native and standout from William Mary College, Jonathan Grimes was activated prior to New York’s Week Five meeting with the Houston Texans, but has yet to see the field. With Shonn Greene fresh off the most prolific running day of his pro-career, the fourth-year tailback may need reinforcements if he hopes to crack the Patriots top-ranked rush defense.
“We have guys that can go,” admitted Ryan of the team’s depth at running back. “Obviously, Shonn really took the majority of all the snaps, even on third down. Grimes has been here now for four weeks. There are other things we can do.”
According to the Jets' head man, Wildcat specialist Tim Tebow could be counted on for a few carries out of the backfield. Ryan and company have utilized the former Heisman Trophy winner sparingly this season, but Sunday in Foxboro they could be ready to let the ‘Cat’ out of the bag.
"That’s a possibility," mentioned Ryan of Tebow playing running back. “The thing about Tim, with him being a football player like we’ve always talked about, by playing quarterback, he knows all the positions. Can you plug him in at running back? Can you plug him in at tight end? I think the answer is yes.”