Back on Track, But Carrying One Less

The Jets lost versatile running back Leon Washington for the season in their win over the Oakland Raiders with a fracture fibula.

The Jets lost versatile running back Leon Washington for the season in their win over the Oakland Raiders with a fractured fibula.

You would think there’d be nothing bad that could come out of a dominant 38-0 road victory, especially one that gets your team back on the right track in all phases of the game.

But in the case of Sunday’s beatdown of the hapless Oakland Raiders, the team was hit with a loss much more devastating than a 3-game losing streak.

Running back Leon Washington, the Jets’ do-it-all standout offensive performer, was lost for the season in the Jets’ victory Sunday afternoon, suffering a broken fibula while being tackled on a running play.  Gang Green could have won 60-0, and the injury to Washington still wouldn’t have put a major damper on an otherwise outstanding performance.

“It’s horribly unfortunate,” center Nick Mangold said of Washington’s injury.  “It’s tough to lose a guy like Leon.  It’s tough to lose a player like Leon and it’s tough to lose a friend like Leon.”

Indeed, the loss of Washington is a potentially devastating blow to this Jets squad.   One player accounting for the majority of special teams return yards, in addition to a nice chunk of yards from scrimmage on offense, makes that player awfully hard to replace in the even that player gets hurt.

But like with every dark cloud, this one has a silver lining, and he’s sporting the number 23 on the back of his jersey.

I’m talking of course about running back Shonn Greene, who scampered for 144 yards on just 19 carries with two touchdowns in the win.  We’ve been waiting for the rookie out of Iowa to make an impact, and even though a large chunk of his yards were earned in garbage time, performance can’t simply be dismissed.

The Jets traded up to draft this guy for a reason.  They see a running back of the future in him, and after Sunday’s performance, you’d have to at least start thinking about drinking the CoolAid.

“I’m just going in there and try to do the best I can and do what I’m able to do,” Greene said of his new role in the offense.  “(I’m going) to try to help the team out in any way that whether it’s on special teams and then again, being on offense.  I just look forward to more opportunities and doing the best I can.  I’m not going to fill Leon’s shoes, but I’m going to do the best I can.”

The Raiders are not exactly the type of defense you can measure a running back against, so we can’t consider Greene as having “arrived”.  But it’s definitely a step in the right direction for the rookie runner, and with his role set to increase, a nice confidence boost heading into a crucial divisional game against the Miami Dolphins.

QUOTES FROM THE VICTORS

Other than the loss of Washington, the team has plenty to be excited about after Sunday’s victory.  Their quarterback didn’t need to be spectacular, but he also didn’t make mistakes, something that has clearly plagued him in recent weeks.  And the defense was back to it’s dominating self, pitching a shutout against a team who’d beaten the Philadelphia Eagles the week before.

“It’s a good springboard,” Mangold said.  “You go out and you see what we’re able to accomplish, what we had planned to do leading up to it and what we’re able to do.  It gives you good confidence giong into this week.  It’s going to be great to be back at home.”

Be sure to check back to JetsInsider.com for all your news and updates throughout the week leading up to Sunday’s matchup with Miami.

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