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Greene ready to shoulder load

Jets running back Shonn Greene speaks to reporters

Jets running back Shonn Greene speaks to reporters in front of his locker the day after the team lost the AFC Championship game to the Steelers. (Jan. 24, 2011) Photo Credit: Joe Epstein

Shonn Greene's name will be called early and often this season, thanks to Rex Ryan elevating him into the role of the team's starting running back.

That's perfectly fine with Greene, who's eager to prove he can handle the task of being the guy.

"Yeah, yeah. I think that's every running back's goal in this league, you know?" Greene said this afternoon following the Jets' walkthrough here at The Hangar. "A lot of teams are not just staying with the ones backs. They're going to the two backs and all that. But I think in our backfield, we've got enough talent to go around and a lot of us can be successful." 

Sure, the Jets do boast a stable of running backs that includes future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson, second-year man Joe McKnight and rookie Bilal Powell. But the success of the running game will probably hinge on Greene, who also has to make sure he doesn't get sidelined with those nagging injuries that have hampered him in his first two seasons.

"I think he's ready. I don't think there's any doubt he's ready," Ryan said. "The other thing is I want to help L.T. fresh for that third-down responsibility and then hammer teams with Shonn."

But it's not going to totally all be on Greene's shoulders.

"Let's not forget Joe McKnight. Joe McKnight came a million miles and he's ready to go. So we are going to have some explosiveness out of him and we'll see about this [Bilal] Powell. You know me, I love to fire a fresh back at you. But to start with, I'm thinking the plan is that you are going to a heavy dose of Shonn Greene."

Ryan has been impressed with one area of improvement in Greene's game.

"He's catching the ball much better than he has, which isn't saying much for when he first got here," Ryan said. "Remember that? It was like, 'Somebody make two guys run to the same spot and play the deflection. But now, he's catching the ball well."

That's because, as Greene put it, you can't buy experience.

"I still have the same focus and everything, I just think right now I'm a little bit more experienced," Greene said. "So the coaches feel a little bit more comfortable with me."


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