Florham Park, N.J.– One of the coolest things in sports is the clever and fun nicknames we give to the athletes. Whether it’s the perfect match of “Sweetness,” to describe the way Walter Payton ran the ball or the so crazy it’s awesome, as is the case with LSU’s dynamic cornerback/kick return Tyrann Mathieu aka the ‘Honey Badger,’ us sports fans love us a great nickname.
On the Jets you have a bunch of different nicknames, the simple ‘LT’ for Ladainian Tomlinson, Brandon Moore lovingly referred to as ‘Meat,’ ‘Revis Island,’ the ‘Sanchize,’ and hell even Nick Mangold held a fan voting contest to give his beard a nickname (Mjolnir, the name of Thor’s hammer won). But none of these nicknames jump out to smack you in the face with pure awesomeness the second the words bounce off your eardrums like the ‘War Machine.’
Shonn Greene aka the ‘War Machine,’ go ahead and try and tell me that’s not an absolutely awesome nickname. Seriously go ahead, I’ll wait… Got nothing? Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Jet fans love the nickname, what they don’t necessarily love is the amount of time it seems to take the ‘War Machine,’ to get going full steam. It’s not just about Greene needing 20-25 carries to be at his most effective, it’s that for whatever reason (and there are plenty of different factors that contribute to this) it’s not until the very end of the season that the ‘War Machine,’ gets fully activated.
In 2009, Greene’s rookie season, he mostly sat on the bench and watched Thomas Jones do most of the work, until Jones and Leon Washington were injured and the ‘War Machine’ exploded in the playoffs giving Jets fans hope that they had their running back for the foreseeable future. Last season the Jets signed ‘LT’ and when he got off to such a fast start Greene got lost in the shuffle for a while before having to come on strong in relief of a worn down ‘LT’ as the season went on. This year it’s been the offensive line that has been the biggest problem, but now it’s that time of year. The season is drawing to a close and the temperature is starting to get cold which can only mean one thing, the ‘War Machine’ has been activated.
You’ve heard it all before, Greene is a power runner who wears down defenses and gets stronger with each carry as the clock approaches zero. This much is true indeed, but the same thought process applies with the season winding to down to the very end. 16 game seasons take their toll on defenses and as other players tire, Greene seems to excel. With the offensive line seeming to have finally settled into a rhythm (great performances against the Bills and the Redskins), does this mean the running game is close to being back on track?
“Yeah I think so. It goes with all of us just working hard in practice and focusing on certain things that we weren’t doing well previously.” Greene said, “So I think each and everyone of us on offense have been thinking of things we can do to make this team that much better, individual and then together collectively.”
For Jet fans, patience is the key for handling Greene’s expectations. It takes the ‘War Machine’ a little while to boot up and it takes just as long for the Jets to figure out how to properly use him to the best of his and their capabilities. But the patient fans are rewarded when Greene finally does settle into a rhythm and starts bowling over defenders as he rumbles for extra yards. But it’s not just the fans who have to learn to accept patience, it’s Greene as well and Brian Schottenheimer seems to think he has done just that.
“Yes, absolutely (liked seeing the patience in how he attacked the holes last week). I think it’s great that he pointed it out. It’s something that he and Anthony Lynn work on a bunch. You see probably out there on the practice field, there are little lines that looks like a crown almost. (That is) for them, working footwork, angles and steps.” Schottenheimer said, “They do it pre-practice. They do it post-practice, but it’s really paying off. Again, a lot of the things with the zone scheme, especially, is so much patience. It’s patience to the hole we call and then speed through the hole. You have to be patient getting to the sprint spot. Then, once it opens, you have to accelerate through it. It was just a terrific run.”
As they say, patience is a virtue and that virtue seems to be paying off for Shonn Greene. Now it’s time for him to reward his fans for being patient and bring out the full power and devastation that a fully activated ‘War Machine’ is capable of.
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