Fixing the Jets, starting with their running game

Many are wondering how the New York Jets can pull out of a two-game slide heading into Pittsburgh. Where exactly do you start fixing the Jets?

I’d start with the running game, because the Jets look like a dysfunctional running team right now.

The identity of the Jets, going back to last season with Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene which we saw re-emphasized on “Hard Knocks” throughout the offseason, was as a “ground and pound” team. That’s great when it’s working. You can control the clock, take pressure off Mark Sanchez, take care of the football and play into the team’s strength of great defense.

Except it’s not working, and the Jets can’t ground it and pound it right now.

This hasn’t just been a problem the last few weeks, it’s been an issue for the Jets over the last two months. Over the last eight games, LaDainian Tomlinson is averaging 3.4 yards per carry, and Greene is averaging 3.7 yards per carry. Tomlinson, who looked explosive early, isn’t playing the way he was earlier this season.

The problems aren’t limited to the ball carriers, either. It’s been poor blocking up front. When five guys are blocking well, one guy misses a block. The receivers miss blocks. The running backs are missing holes. It’s not just one thing.

When the Jets brought in the Wildcat gimmick with Brad Smith against the Dolphins last week, as soon as the inside linebackers recognized it, they waved the safeties closer to the line of scrimmage. It’s ineffective, because the Jets are no threat to throw the ball.

I think the Jets are in a downward spiral right now, and it’s not because of Sanchez. The Jets aren’t doing what they say they want to do, and it’s not going to get any easier heading into Pittsburgh.

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