200 Miles From the Citi

December 2, 2010 9:51 PM

Of Danny Woodhead And The Jets Running Backs


One of the stories that has been getting a lot of play leading up to Monday night's showdown between the Jets and the Patriots is the Danny Woodhead story.

Woodhead became something of a star during 'Hard Knocks' (best line: When they talk about Woodhead as a throwback, saying if he had played 50 years ago, people would say, "Man, he moved like Danny Woodhead used to."), only to make the Jets and then get released right away.  (Remember, the Jets made a ridiculous number of roster moves early in the year juggling players on and off the team as they accommodated injuries and Darrelle Revis.)

Most recently the story around Woodhead is that Rex Ryan said he regrets cutting him.

More fuel to the "The Jets let one get away to their division rivals" fire - a fire I hope gets extinguished soon.

I know Woodhead had a great pre-season, and became a fan favorite, and would look awfully nice in green right now.  But the truth is, the Jets couldn't keep him.

In retrospect, they should have.  They should have cut Joe McKnight and used that roster spot for Woodhead.  Then, instead of wasting a roster spot on McKnight, they'd have Woodhead at least for kick returns.

But at the time, the Jets held onto their draft pick.  Can't really blame them.  And the jury's still out on McKnight - who knows what he'll turn into.

The whole reason this decision is in the spotlight is because Kevin Faulk got hurt and Woodhead has been thrust into a starring role with New England - and he has responded well.  That opportunity was never going to come with the Jets.  And that brings us to the Jets running back situation.

I have to believe the Jets are following a specific pattern with their running backs.  They are going to run LaDainian Tomlinson into the ground these next few weeks, and then spring a relatively fresh Shonn Greene on their opponents in the playoffs.

That's what happened last year.  Remember when Thomas Jones essentially disappeared?  And then Shonn Greene got all the carries, until he got hurt in the AFC Championship Game?  I expect the same from Tomlinson...and despite Greene's nearly game-costing fumble in Houston, I think the Jets will ride him late.

You'll remember I never doubted Tomlinson would have the type of year he's having.  But I started to get worried when Tomlinson was used - a lot - in the preseason.  And I started to wonder how much he'd have left in the playoffs because he was being used a ton in the regular season, and Shonn Greene was not.  But steadily we've seen more and more of Greene, and I think we'll be seeing less and less of Tomlinson.  I think it was all part of a plan.

And all told, we wouldn't have been seeing any of Danny Woodhead, unless one of those guys got hurt.  He just got squeezed out of a numbers game.  And he benefitted from the same in New England.

It's nice to think about 'what could have been' with Woodhead.

But 'what actually is' without him isn't so bad right now either.

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