With mini-camp freshly behind them and training camp just around the corner, the Jets and their fans have plenty of reasons to be excited about Rex Ryan's second season.
LaDainian Tomlinson shouldn't be one of them.
One of Gang Green's more curious moves this offseason was jettisoning Thomas Jones after a 1,402-yard rushing year and signing Tomlinson to replace him.
Tomlinson's low-cost signing had all the makings of a marketing gambit to juice stagnant PSL sales that -- like the Darrelle Revis and Nick Mangold contract scuffles -- are casting a considerable black cloud over the Jets' otherwise promising hopes.
If only the Jets could have signed the 2007 Tomlinson.
Even without pads or contact, it didn't take a grizzled NFL scout to notice in the Jets' recent workouts that Tomlinson just doesn't look like the same player who terrified opposing defenses with his slippery moves and sublime hands for nine seasons with the Chargers.
Tomlinson appears bulkier and definitely a step (or three) slower than he did in his prime, which is to be expected from a running back who next week turns 31 -- increasingly the point of no return in the NFL -- with his incredible amount of mileage.
We're talking about a player with 3,410 touches (combined carries and receptions) who missed just three games combined in his first nine NFL seasons. Indeed, Tomlinson enters this season as the league's active leader in rushing attempts by a wide margin -- 2,880 carries to Fred Taylor's 2,491.
That's a lot of collisions, a lot of wear-and-tear that no amount of blaming the Chargers' offensive line will allow Tomlinson to roll back the odometer on.
Also consider that the two other active leaders in carries with Tomlinson last year, Edgerrin James and Jamal Lewis, both hung it up after the 2009 season.
And to put that in further perspective, Tomlinson has almost 300 more career touches than Eddie George, who -- while admittedly a more straight-ahead, physical runner than Tomlinson -- was burnt to a crisp and out of football by age 31.
Yet Ryan and the Jets act and talk as if Tomlinson is still in his prime, even though LT hasn't averaged better than 3.8 yards per carry each of the past two years and had been reduced to a nothing role with San Diego by the end of last season.
Tomlinson actually worked with the starters at times ahead of Shonn Greene during the Jets' OTAs, and Ryan dropped hints throughout that Tomlinson could have a big role this year.
Tomlinson and the Chargers, particularly GM A.J. Smith, have exchanged insults since Tomlinson's ugly offseason departure, but several NFL executives told me it isn't just sour grapes on San Diego's part.
"If you watch the films from the end of last year, the guy had nothing left," a general manager with multiple Super Bowl rings said last week. "It's not a knock on him personally. All those carries are going to catch up to anyone."
If that role is any bigger than a handful of carries per game while Tomlinson provides locker-room leadership and tutors Greene and rookie third-down back Joe McKnight, then the Jets aren't headed back to the playoffs, much less the Super Bowl.
Deep down, you have to believe the Jets think the same thing.[/QUOTE]
Do I have my concerns about losing a 1,403 yard RB with hands like locks? Of course. Especially, when you consider what we replaced him with.
First of all, LT is NOT the replacement for TJ, Shonn Greene is. So this idea that LT is going to be a workhorse is false.
Just the same, Greene did quite well during the regular season when he wasn't fumbling. He also really took off during the playoffs and thrust himself into the number 1 back role. However, I am concerned about Greene being brittle number 1. He got injured in the biggest of games, the AFC championship. I also saw something in his bio about him suffering an injury while in college. Where there's smoke, there's fire. So I'm holding off on the love affair with Shonn Greene so far. I can just NEVER believe he'll have the kind of work ethic TJ did and as sure handed. TJ was the consumate pro.
At the end of the day, I support the Jets moving TJ. He wanted more money and the Jets just couldn't afford it considering they are looking for a SB victory THIS season.
My hope is that Greene manages to prove my concerns about him staying healthy wrong and he learns how to take better care of the ball. He's got all of the tools physically.
In my mind, LT is nothing more than an additional pass receiving threat out of the backfield. He'll get some rushes, but few and far between IMO.
who thinks that lt is going to be the same as he was in his prime? i don't but at the same time he was poorly used for the past two seasons under norv turner and there is every reason to believe he can contribute in a big way. and he is not coming to replace tj or greene but to compliment greene. lt can still run the ball and he still has better hands then tj or even leon plus he can pass block.
obviously the season will be the final judge of what he can or can't do. and don't forget we have our own norv in sch#tty. the play calling has got to be better.
There's no doubt LT has lost a step, or two.. if he didn't, there's not a chance that the Chargers not only let him walk, but that they wouldn't have gotten away from using him in the last two years.
The question that remains is pretty obvious, and has been asked here a thousand times this off season - Was SD's Oline really as bad of a run blocking group as some are claiming, and if so, can LT put up better stats running behind our alleged #1 run blocking oline?
My thinking is if they can make TJ look like a pro bowl back, than LT should be more than serviceable in a part time role.
[QUOTE=crasherino;3628832]THis Hubboch guy is really trying to leave a mark in his limited time covering the Jets.
Hasn't that piece been done twenty times over? Is he really covering new ground here?[/QUOTE]
Agree completely---excellent points. The Jets just finished a three day minicamp, and the Hubbuch article has one quote, from an anonymous GM talking about how LT looked on film last year. No quotes from anyone at minicamp (LT, maybe?) and no observations on how he's looking now. It's almost like Hubbuch forgot he was supposed to write an article, so when his editor asked him for it, he pulled out an article that he wrote three months ago and made it look current by changing the time of the anonymous GM quote to last week.
Funny, I have been reading the exact opposite of what this article says. By many accounts, including from the players themselves, LT has stood out in the minicamps. He has been working harder than almost any other player and he is very motivated, with a chip on his shoulder. I understand there were no pads, but a few of the players said he pulled some pretty good moves during the practices. I think LT, even after losing a step, will still be better than most backs in the NFL. Behind our line, I think he will excel and I expect nothing less than a good year from him.
[QUOTE=sg3;3628841]Face facts, Jets, Barf Hubbecch is pretty much a hack trying to fill the now vacant "Dick" Cimini spot amongst NY print beat writers[/QUOTE]
.... hahaahahahahahahahaha ...
... we had gotten 2 articles by cimini last week that actually contained some substance & very limited backhanded compliments and jaded sarcasm, i wondered where cimini actually had gone! ... we've now found him posting under an alias named bartie needahugguck ...
I'm really not too concerned with LT; I think he will do fine next season and surprise a lot of people.[/QUOTE]
I agree with you all the way. LT is here to block and receive out of the backfield. He will get his share of carries too. REX said he looks spry out there. So did our RT. Why the media have to be so negative BEFORE the guy even carries the ball one time with us is really silly. IMO REX & T know more about personnel then any hack. If they think he can still be productive, so be it!
If shon Greene is healthy, LT should be nothing more then a 3rd down back and maybe a few carries when Greene is gassed. If he is consistantly gettin carries on 1st and 2nd down then we are in trouble.
[QUOTE=BRONX JET;3628843]My main concern is the need for two backs in today's NFL. Hopefully Mcknight or Washington can fill that role[/QUOTE]
+1 You have to have two RBs atleast (as we saw last season) in the NFL.
Greene is going to have to have a big year for the Jets to have a successful running game IMO. If Greene gets banged up or misses a few games then lets do either McNight or Washington can step up and be productive.
Even if Greene comes through and builds off his postseason performance of last year we will still need someone to step up and spell Greene here and there to help keep him in good condition for the playoffs.
I wouldnt bank on LT being that #2 RB that can come in for a few drives a game and keep the running game going, McKnight or Washington would have a more realistic chance of taking that role. LT will make plays here in there catching out of the backfield and pass blocking, but I dont believe you can consistently rely on him to be your #2 through out the season.
[QUOTE=BRONX JET;3628843][B]My main concern is the need for two backs in today's NFL. [/B] Hopefully Mcknight or Washington can fill that role[/QUOTE]
Todays NFL?? Ever hear of Snell and Boozer,Riggens and Boozer,Freeman and Hector?? Until the compiler we have always had backs that shared carries.. One of the best running combo's in history was Csonka,Kiick and Mercury Morris..Also one thing that people over look is in every year as a Pro LT has had double diget TD's and unless they changed the rules points still win games..