The New York Jets knew what they were doing when they traded up to get the first pick of the third round of the 2009 NFL draft.
The Jets used the pick on running back Shonn Greene of Iowa even though they had fine running backs in pounder Thomas Jones and scatback Leon Washington. Greene was the future.
The future is now.
What a game Greene had Saturday in helping the New York Jets to a 24-14 playoff win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Note that score was the same as Iowa’s Orange Bowl win over Georgia Tech.
Greene had a 39-yard TD run in the game that sort of symbolized his entrance into the league.
Here is an assortment of links and excerpts from East Coast newspapers and others on the kind of day Greene had that was a weekly event for the Hawkeyes a season ago:
“He’s running hard,” Jets right tackle Damien Woody said. “The biggest thing with him is the yards he gets after contact. He’s running over people. He hit No. 41 [Bengals safety Chinendum Ndukwe] one time so hard I thought he killed him.”
When that comment was relayed to Greene after the game, the soft-spoken rookie out South Jersey and Iowa smiled.
“That gives you a sense of power and you feel like an animal,” Greene said. “He was out there talking a little trash, so I was happy to hit the guy.”
(Jets coach) Rex Ryan said he pumped Greene up before the game, predicting big things.
“I told him going into the game I thought he could get 150 yards,” Ryan said. “We felt good about him. When you look at him and Thomas Jones, what a one-two punch we have there.”
One of the Bengals safeties was talking trash during the warm-ups to Greene, who had rushed for 62 yards on 13 carries last Sunday against the Bengals in the Jets’ 37-0 rout.
That motivated Greene.
“He saw a couple of safeties talking loud and (the safety) was talking loud last week,” Jets linebacker Bart Sc0tt said. “You saw (Greene) start wearing guys down, they (Bengals safeties) weren’t coming up too enthusiastically, hoping he tripped or somebody else made the tackle first.”
Greene had 64 yards by halftime on nine carries and opened the second half at running back while Jones watched. Greene helped set up Jones’ 9-yard touchdown run with 2:18 remaining in the third quarter by rushing for 24 yards on the drive.
“He’s a little Marshawn Lynch to me,” Scott added. “He is tough to tackle and he’s a load and squares his shoulder and he is going to deliver the blow. Great vision, slasher, makes that one cut, he squares you up.”
“We’re physical football team and he’s a physical running back,” right tackle Damien Woody said. “When he comes through the hole, he’s coming a 100 miles per hour. And people aren’t bringing him down. He’s running through people.”
Greene has played an integral role and complemented Jones during the Jets three-game winning streak. The rookie has rushed for 292 yards in the last three games.
“It’s a heck of a 1-2 punch,” center Nick Mangold said. “I don’t know if I’d want to face it.”
“And the last thing I wanted to do was trade up twice in the same draft,” Tannenbaum said as his picks and acquisitions headed out to the buses pointed toward the second round.
“We wanted [Greene] badly, and I knew he wouldn’t be there if we stayed where we were. He’s a big back, but he has small-man’s feet. We really liked his ability to break tackles and make people miss.”