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MIA: The Jets Running Game

Running could be the key to beating Oakland

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Greene hasn't seen much daylight this season.

    In Wednesday's New York Post, Brian Costello argues that there's never been a better time to be a Jets fan.

    We're not sure anything could ever compare to seeing Broadway Joe handle the Colts and make his guarantee come true, but we're not going to fight too hard to prove Costello wrong. After all, how many times in the history of the franchise have the Jets won by 29 points while playing as mediocre a game on offense as they played against the Jaguars on Sunday?

    Mark Sanchez's afternoon has already been broken down and picked apart, but the running game wasn't much better than the Sanchize. Shonn Greene had just 49 yards on 16 carries even though the Jets no longer face boxes loaded up by defensive coordinators unconcerned about Sanchez beating them through the air. 

    Some of that is Greene, who looks to be about as explosive as waterlogged dynamite, and some of it is on the offensive line. Wayne Hunter was a useful backup, but it is clear that they are missing Damien Woody's presence at right tackle more than anyone imagined during the transition over the summer.

    Nick Mangold's injury certainly didn't help matters, but the team wasn't doing much better when the perennial Pro Bowler was in the lineup either week. Whether or not he plays this week in Oakland, they need to do better and, in fact, their chances of winning might depend on it.

    The Raiders defense gave up 8.7 yards per carry against the Bills last weekend, a shocking number given the fact that the Raiders led the game 21-3 at one point. The Bills have a strong offense, but it isn't any better than the Jets' so there are going to be chances to exploit Oakland's weakness in that department.

    Rushing the passer is a strong suit of the Raiders and that's an even bigger reason why the Jets need to make an impact in the rushing game. Hunter is a Sanchez injury waiting to happen and Colin Baxter will need to go for as simple a game plan as possible if he plays in place of Mangold -- which means running and then using play action to take advantage of a defense that has to pay more attention to the run.

    If they can't do it this week, it might be time to try something new. LaDainian Tomlinson is best utilized in his current pass-catching role, but maybe Joe McKnight or Bilal Powell can give the team a lift where Greene cannot.

    Unfotunately for the Jets, an inability to do it this week might well mean that they are trying something new with a loss uglying up their record.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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