When the Jets signed future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson, it was widely assumed that he'd play a complementary role, with Shonn Greene rising to "feature-back" status. Hold everything. According to running backs coach Anthony Lynn, "I see myself as having two starters."
What Lynn meant is this: Playing time will be determined, in large part, by game situations and matchups. As he explained the other day, "It depends on the flow of the game. If we're better off in our big personnel, Shonn will get more touches. If we go little, like we did last year with Leon (Washington) in our nickel package, L.T. will get more touches. It's all situational."
Lynn compared it to the Washington-Thomas Jones tandem last season. If that's the case, the workloads will be fairly close to even. Before Washington's season-ending injury in Week 7, he had 70 carries and 15 catches for 85 touches. Jones had 96 carries and four receptions for 100 touches. That's almost a 50-50 split.
Is Tomlinson, who turns 31 on Wednesday, up to 14 touches per game -- 14 productive touches? There was nothing he did in OTAs or minicamp (at least nothing open to the media) that made you say, "Wow, he's back." But let's not send him to the glue factory just yet. Making a definitive statement about a running back in non-contact drills is like critiquing a movie based on the trailer.
In the end, it is still far more likely that Greene will have the bigger workload. Tomlinson isn't the player he used to be, and while he remains a somewhat useful fantasy player at times, Greene remains the New York back to draft. We have him at 12 while LT is at 34.