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Greene helping Jets get back to basics

New York Jets' Shonn Greene gets his hand

New York Jets' Shonn Greene gets his hand on the ball before running out of bounds during the second quarter. (Dec. 11, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Those bold Rex Ryan proclamations apparently haven't been shelved yet.

Ryan is confident Shonn Greene will churn out enough yardage to hit the 1,000-yard rushing mark for the first time in his three-year career when the Jets meet the Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium in Miami on Sunday.

"I know my guarantees," the Jets' coach said Friday. "I am going to guarantee he goes over 1,000. I am going on record so I can sit back and say 'See, I guaranteed you.' So, I am definitely making that guarantee."

That's because Greene needs only 1 yard to reach 1,000.

While the Dolphins will be without 1,000-yard rusher Reggie Bush because of a knee injury -- a break for the Jets in a game they must win to have any shot at the playoffs -- Greene will try to become the Jets' first 1,000-yard back since Thomas Jones gained 1,402 in 2009.

Even though it's not quite the milestone it once was because of the 16-game schedule, typically it's a benchmark many running backs enjoy reaching.

So does Greene know precisely how many yards he has at the moment?

"No," Greene said Friday.

Would he like to know?

"It doesn't even matter, man," Greene said in his usual nonchalant voice. "We're just trying to get this win. That's all."

Someone quickly mentioned he was a yard shy of 1,000.

"[So] that's what's up," Greene said with a wry smile.

Still, he said it means zilch.

"Nah," said Greene, whose six rushing touchdowns tie him with Mark Sanchez for the team lead. "I've been telling you guys that since I've got here. We're just trying to win games."

LaDainian Tomlinson can see through that talk, though. The veteran running back cracked the 1,000-yard plateau in his first eight seasons.

"It is nice," Tomlinson said. "We've talked about it and he's excited. We're all excited because that's a big accomplishment. Your first 1,000-yard season, you never forget that."

From Week 5 on, Greene has run for 842 yards and five touchdowns. During that span, his average of 76.5 yards per contest ranks fifth most in the AFC.

Greene's only true hiccup the past two months came in the Jets' Nov. 17 loss in Denver when he suffered a rib injury and left after carrying three times for 10 yards. Greene is a big reason why the Jets' 21st-ranked rushing attack, which averages 104.2 yards, has been more effective of late, an aspect of the offense that took longer to iron out than the Jets had hoped.

"We had some new pieces, some other things we wanted to try to get done offensively," said Greene, who's averaging 4.2 yards per carry. "So I think it just kind of took a backseat. But it's doing well now."

Ryan likes what he's seeing from Greene after the Jets' slow start rushing the ball.

"When you look at it, he had some tough breaks early in the season," Ryan said. "But he really started coming on and I think he is hitting his stride. So this is the time of year when he usually does his most damage, not just this opportunity to play on Sunday but hopefully, more opportunities ."

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