Rex Ryan has vowed that the New York Jets will return to their old form in 2012. If true, that means they will play defense and run the ball. With LaDainian Tomlinson gone, will the team bring in Cedric Benson to back up Shonn Greene?
Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez battle won't matter without steady running
Give all the attention paid to the quarterback race between Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez, many fans have forgotten that both players never made it to the playoffs without a steady running game. That means the attention should focus on new starting running back Shonn Greene. With LaDainian Tomlinson gone to free agency and likely to retire, Greene now stands as the only back of any note in the Jets backfield. While management would say the team will give its young backups chances, the clear message is that Greene will see more carries headed into the 2012 NFL season. Rex Ryan supported that stance when he said new offensive coÃ¶rdinator Tony Sporano would give the running back the ball "a bunch." Sporano himself chimed in on Greene and his powerful style, stating that "Smoke and mirrors aren't going to win a lot of games." Reading into that says the Jets plan on pounding teams with the run until they break or stop it. That's music to the ears of a running back. Still Greene runs a greater risk of injury the more times he carries, especially given the way he runs. Should his team think about getting some outside help?
Benson and Braylon Edwards top the list of NFL free agents available
To the surprise of many experts the list of free agents still on the NFL market stands littered with younger players capable of putting up good numbers. For the Jets there are two names they could have their eyes on in wide receiver Braylon Edwards and running back Cedric Benson. Most fans know all about Edwards and his hasty exit from the Jets team after two solid seasons catching passes from Mark Sanchez. He eventually landed in San Francisco but never stuck thanks to injury problems. Though known for his locker room issues, Edwards is 29 and under the right coaches can have a few good years left. The bigger surprise is Benson. Experts tab him as the best free agent left on the market. It comes as no surprise. Like Edwards he is only 29 and until February was the workhorse back for the Cincinnati Bengals. While not the best receiver out of the backfield, Benson can still run with power. If so he would fit perfectly in the new Sporano offense behind Greene.
Sanchez and Tim Tebow hold the headlines but Shonn Greene decides whether the New York Jets sink or swim. While no one questions he can do it, a smart play involves getting him help such as free agents like Cedric Benson or Braylon Edwards. Not ideal, but low-risk, high-reward.