Jets RB Thomas Jones' efficiency started to decline four games ago, but it has been more pronounced over the last two - 112 yards on 42 carries, a 2.7 average. The good news for the Jets is that it has created a bigger role for rookie Shonn Greene, who is running wild with the opportunity.
The concern is that the "Ground and Pound" approach could be less effective if there's an imbalance between "Ground" and "Pound." Jones played Saturday's 24-14 win over the Bengals with a brace on a bruised knee, Rex Ryan revealed yesterday, but the coach expects his workhorse to be fine for Sunday's divisional playoff game in San Diego.
"You wait until he gets out there in that warm weather. He's going to feel fantastic," said Ryan, who believes Jones' recent per-carry average is misleading because it includes a lot of short-yardage situations. "I truly believe we're going to have that 1-2 punch that you can ride throughout the playoffs."
The Jets have been employing a hot-hand philosophy at running back, but it was telling that Greene - not Jones - started the second half on Saturday. Greene (21 carries for 135 yards) wound up being one of the stars, while Jones (15 for 34) was relegated to a secondary role.