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New York Jets: Why They Must Pursue Steven Jackson This Offseason

Cody CurrieCorrespondent IIOctober 7, 2012

The New York Jets have a terrible running game, and it has become clear that Shonn Greene is not a feature back.  

The Jets currently rank 24th in the NFL in rushing yards at a paltry 86.5 yards per game.  The Jets have a solid offensive line led by All-Pro center Nick Mangold and Pro Bowl LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson, so the blame falls mostly on Greene's shoulders and his ability to find holes or power through defenses.

He has shown that he is mostly incapable of creating yardage for himself, only bursting for big runs when the offensive line opens a substantial hole for him.  

His lack of production has forced the Jets to rely more on Sanchez's arm—a situation that has generated mostly poor results thus far this season, with the exception of the season-opening blowout of the Buffalo Bills.

With the Jets top pass-catcher, Santonio Holmes, out for the season with a Lisfranc injury and Sanchez's struggles beginning to mount, the Jets need a dependable running game to keep the offense moving.

Steven Jackson may be the answer.

Jackson has voided the final year of his contract with the St. Louis Rams and is set to become a free agent this offseason.  

The Jets would be wise to heavily pursue Jackson to bolster their running attack.

Jackson has been one of the most productive running backs in the NFL the past several years racking up seven consecutive 1,000-yard rushing seasons, despite being on a poor Rams offense and constantly facing defenses with eight in the box. 

 

He has also been very durable in spite of his heavy workload.  

Jackson is off to a slow start this year, in part due to struggling with a nagging groin injury.  However, he still presents an upgrade over Greene, who has been most productive when playing as the second running back, as he did in 2009 behind Thomas Jones and the past two seasons behind LaDainian Tomlinson.  

Jackson would also help in the passing game, giving Sanchez a reliable option out of the backfield as well as return the Jets to their ground-and-pound running style that was so effective during the team's 2009 and 2010 runs to the AFC Championship game.

Jackson likely has two or three good years left in him, but that shouldn't stop the Jets from making a strong effort to sign him.  

The Jets offense would be at least solid with him in the fold. His presence would help open up things for the passing game since teams would have to devote more attention to the Jets' running attack.

It would also boost Greene's production as he would be able to go back to being a complementary back—a role with which he is more comfortable.  

Going after Jackson is a no-brainer for the Jets.

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