As the Jaguars continue their AFC East part of the schedule, the New York Jets come to town. Whether you’re a fan of the Rex Ryan bravado, the Sanchize, or Tim Tebow there’s an awful lot to look at on the Jets. In reality though, the Jets are only as good as their running game.
The Jets average 115 yards on the ground per game. The majority of those yards are eaten up by running back Shonn Greene who has amassed 806 yards on the ground with a decent 3.8 yards per carry. His 210 attempts outstrip anyone else on the offense by 180 attempts. The devil in the details, however, is that when Greene and the running game is bottled up, the Jets simply do not win. Of the Jets’ five wins, three of them have come when Greene managed 90+ yards on the ground. On the whole, the offense has won four of five games in which they have over 115 rushing yards in a game – the lone loss coming to New England. The primary outlier is overtime win over the Dolphins in which the team had only 93 rushing yards and a meager 40 yards.
Now the problem then becomes, how do you stop this rushing offense? In comparison, Mark Sanchez, Jeremy Kerley, and Dustin Keller seem a little easier to slow down.
The Jaguars, with their 31st ranked rushing defense, are not prime candidates for slowing down a powerful runner who shoulders his team to victory. Yet other teams like the Dolphins, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Houston have held Greene to under his average per carry. In fact, Buffalo did the same thing to them. As last week and the rest of the season has proven, however, is that the Jaguars are simply not in the same league as these other teams. While they find success and have records hovering near .500 or well above it, the Jaguars are slumped, winning only 16% of their games.
So, to the personnel of the Jaguars we must trust. We must trust that last year’s defense was more than just a one year wonder. Paul Posluszny is playing lights out on every down and is the embodiment of what a defender is. Jeremy Mincey can contain on the outside but has been struggling as of late. Terrance Knighton is the man to clog up the middle. Derek Cox provides the opportunity to play some safeties further up to stop the run.
Yet they fail so often.
The Jaguars are allowing 144 yards per game on the ground. If the Jets eat up a few more yards then it will be tough to stop them. This defense has mostly the same personnel as last year’s and yet the production has dipped much lower. If there ever was a game for this defense to regain its form, it’s this one.
Mincey believes that this team’s identity is stopping the run. We haven’t seen it this year. It’s time they proved it to us. Stop Shonn Greene!
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims