I did a little game watching of my own on Shonn Greene recently, so I was anxious to hear the tape guru Cosell's take on the Jets' starting running back. Greene had a huge playoff run as a rookie in 2009. He's disappointed ever since.
I mentioned some of my takeaways to Cosell, and he told me what he thought of Shonn Greene:
"I think that he's a little bit of a one-speed runner," Cosell explained, "and I think that's caught up to him a little bit. I think that he's a strong kid. I think he can run downhill. I think he can move the pile because he's got natural strength. But I don't think there's much burst to him. I think he's pretty much of a one-speed runner. And I think those guys eventually struggle.
"He can gain yards, there's no question. But I don't think he gives you much more than what's there. And I think it's tough for those kinds of backs to truly be foundation backs."
Cosell indicated that Greene is a very limited runner. And we're not just talking about the fact that he doesn't contribute in the passing game.
"You know I don't use the word feature back anymore because I'm not sure what that means," said Cosell. "You can argue LeSean McCoy is a feature back, but the Eagles don't run that kind of offense, even though he carried the ball 300 times. They don't line up in the I-formation. Shonn Greene is ultimately that kind of back, where you gotta line up in the I-formation and pretty much give him the ball. And I'm not sure he has a complete enough skill set to be that guy."
I suggested to Cosell that, based on my own reviews, I thought Greene left quite a bit of yardage on the field and all too often ran into defenders, rather than past them. He didn't even try to run around or by them.
"There's no question that there's no creativity to his running," agreed Cosell. "And when I say creativity, you don't have to be incredibly elusive. But, you're right, he's not a guy who's really going to make people miss. I think there's no way you can be an elite back or a top-level back if you can't make unblocked defenders miss. Because in the run game, there's always going to be a defender that can't be blocked. That's what teams do, defensively. You must be able to make unblocked defenders miss. He's not gonna do that.