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Sports

November 21, 2012

3's not a crowd, but 'ideal' for Jets running backs

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Shonn Greene insists he isn’t really all that into numbers.

He’s a rare running back who won’t sulk on the sideline if his carries are down, just as long as the New York Jets are winning.

No, really. He means it.

“I’m not selfish, man,” Greene said Tuesday. “You all know that. I’ve never been that guy who says, ‘I want this or that.’ The more, the better. That’s how I see it.”

After the success Greene, Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight had against the Rams on Sunday, all three could expect to be in the mix for significant playing time the rest of the season. While some might see three as a crowd in the backfield, the Jets believe it’s the way to bring back their run-first approach on a consistent basis.

“I think it’s the ideal scenario for us because we have three very capable backs,” coach Rex Ryan said. “Instead of just throwing one guy in there all the time to take the hits, protections and routes, when you have three guys coming in, it helps.”

That certainly was the plan going into the season for offensive coordinator Tony Sparano, who was excited about bringing the “Ground-and-Pound” approach back to the Jets’ offense — especially with backup quarterback Tim Tebow in the mix as a wildcat-style presence. While that hasn’t yielded the results the Jets hoped for, it has also been rare for all three running backs to be healthy and effective in the same game, as they were in the Jets’ 27-13 win over St. Louis on Sunday.

Greene ran 18 times for 64 yards, Powell had 42 yards and his first two NFL touchdowns on 11 carries and McKnight rushed for 14 yards on four carries. The Jets finished with 124 yards rushing, using all three players to try to beat the Rams.

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