Florham Park, N.J.– The Jets made an abundance on mistakes as a team against the Ravens, but Shonn Greene thinks it was his fault the Jets lost the game. Yesterday he owned up to his costly mistake and willingly accepted blame for the excruciating defeat.
Greene said, “Yeah, I took that loss on my shoulders. That was a key moment in the game, that fumble, and then it turned into a touchdown for Baltimore. I put that pretty much on my shoulders.”
Before that fumble Greene had five carries for 18 yards and one reception for nine yards. Those are hardly the type of numbers Jet fans were expecting to see after Greene’s break-out playoff performance. A lot of questions have been asked this offseason about if the Jets made the right move letting Thomas Jones go and expecting Greene to fulfill his role, while one game can’t determine the validity of either answer this game sure doesn’t help Greene’s case.
On the first drive of the game Greene picked up a first-down on a nine yard screen pass from Sanchez. This looked to be a good sign because one of the most critiqued parts of Green’s game is his pass catching ability, but proved to be a sign of things to come.
Unfortunately it just wasn’t a good sign.
After Greene caught the pass he bolted down the sidelines picking up the necessary yards for the first-down and more, but as he was being pushed out of bounds the ball got knocked out of his hands and bounced harmlessly across the sidelines.
The fumble did no damage and considering Greene was on his way out-of-bounds it was forgivable. Problem was, as anyone who watched the final preseason games or episodes of, “Hard Knocks,” fumbling the ball became a consistent theme for the Jets offense throughout the preseason. Soon enough a rule enforced, if you fumbled you had to sit for the rest of the game.
So the next time Greene fumbled, he reserved himself a spot on the sidelines for the rest of the game. The fumble wasn’t just a simple case of the running back not being careful with the ball, but proved to be just as damaging.
Following the Cromartie interception and 66 yard return, the Jets were up 6-0 with the momentum strongly swinging in the Jets favor. Until on second-and-five from the Blatimore 24-yard-line Greene took a handoff up the middle and guard Matt Slauson backed into him, as he was blocking a defender. Even with both hands wrapped around the ball, the unexpected collision with his own teammate caused him to fumble the ball. This time the Ravens jumped on it.
The Ravens capitalized off this turnover and it did indeed turn out to be the difference in the game. Even if the Jets didn’t gain another yard they could have kicked another field-goal and got at least three points, instead the Jets defense bailed out the Ravens allowing them to turn the turnover into a touchdown
The defense absolutely self-destructed on that drive; allowing a 27 yard catch to Houshmandzadeh, a running into the kicker penalty on a made field goal which gave the Ravens a new set of downs, and a questionable pass interference call on Wilson in the end zone. All of this led to the Ravens punching it in for seven points, giving them the lead 7-6.
After that Greene knew his night was done and he understood it without having to be told. Greene said, “I pretty much expected it. During the preseason, we had problems with turnovers and fumbles. They pretty much said if you fumble, you’ll be out of the game.”
Greene isn’t worried though, he expects to get his carries next week and is confident he can rebound. Greene said, “I’m good now. I just can’t wait to play Sunday to try and have some positive (things). I’m good. My teammates are behind me (and so is) the coaching staff.”
When Ryan was asked if he talked to offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer about Greene being used sparingly in the second half Ryan said, “Really, I never got to that specifically. We were talking about, more or less, looking ahead to what we can do to get our offense on track. Schotty and I met about some of those things.”
Ryan was asked if he was curious as to why Greene didn’t get anymore touches after his second fumble, he said, ” Not really because when you look at them, we have two excellent backs. The other guy that was in there is a pretty darn good back. We’re going to rotate both of those guys. In some games, guys are going to get more carries than the other. Ideally, you’d like to give them 15 runs a piece at least, but it wasn’t to be that day. When we’re running the football only 21 times in a game, that’s not good enough because that’s not who we are. You’ve got to give credit to the opponent, but I’m tired of talking about it. We did average 5.5 (yards) a carry. We should run the ball more. You can look at it that way as a lot of things we probably should have done differently. That thing is behind us now.”
There was only one real positive note for the Jets offense on Monday, and that was L.T.’s performance. L.T. rushed the ball 11 times for 62 yards (5.6 yards per carry) and Brad Smith had two runs for 27 yards. The Jets as a team rushed for 116 yards at 5.5 yards per attempt against one of the best front-sevens in football.
Ryan is right when he says the Jets need to run the ball more. In a close game with a struggling offense, but the rushing game still managing to finish with an average of 5.5 yards a carry, 21 rushing attempts simply isn’t enough. The penalties were the biggest reason for the limited carries, as the offense kept backing themselves up into first-and-15 or first-and-20 too often. Expect the running game (including both Greene and L.T.) to be the theme of the week for this offense as they prepare for the Patriots.
After all, they are really going to need to run the ball and eat up the clock to keep the always dangerous Brady off the field as much as possible.
While Greene’s numbers, last week, were not up to par, that had a lot to due with the way the game unfolded and that he of course fumbled the ball. Expect him to carry the ball a lot more this week against New England and as long as he keeps the ball in his hands he should bounce back for a big day of pounding the Patriots inside and wearing their defense down.
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