So now Rex Ryan wants to get back to running the football, which begs the question: What happened to Ground & Pound in the first place?
In 2009 and 2010, the Jets averaged a league-best 160.3 yards per game. Right now, they're averaging 71 yards and 3.1 per carry.
Get this: In the first 32 games under Ryan, the Jets had only three sub-100-yard rushing days. This season, they already have two -- and the other two were 100 and 101.
What happened? Here's a consensus based on personal observation, interviews with scouts and opinions from players:
• They've become infatuated with the passing game, figuring QB Mark Sanchez -- in his third year -- would be able to handle more responsibility and would thrive with the Santonio Holmes-Plaxico Burress-Derrick Mason troika at receiver. But the offense is too one-dimensional and Sanchez has nine turnovers in four games. By declaring a re-commitment to the running game, Ryan basically is admitting that Sanchez isn't ready to carry that kind of load.
• RB Shonn Greene might not be an ideal fit in the Jets' zone-blocking scheme. The scheme requires a back with vision and cut-back ability; Greene is a straight-ahead power back. He's averaging 3.1 per rush, the lowest among the league's top 40 rushers.
• Nick Mangold, arguably the best center in the league, has missed the last 11 quarters because of an ankle injury. We all saw Sunday night what he means not only to the line, but the entire offense.
• RT Wayne Hunter, the only new starter on the line, has settled down a bit the last two games, but he's not nearly as good a run blocker as his predecessor, Damien Woody.
• Brandon Moore, whom Ryan calls the best right guard in football, missed nearly all of training camp as he recovered from off-season hip surgery. Basically, his training camp is ending just about now.
• They lost versatile backup Rob Turner in August to a season-ending leg injury. Don't laugh, he was an important part of the running game, used as an extra blocker in "Jumbo" packages.
• The front office didn't adequately re-stock the line with experienced depth, and it has been exposed by the Mangold and Turner injuries.
• Because of the new CBA rules, teams are spending less time practicing in pads than ever before. That definitely has an impact on line play, both sides of the ball.
• Maybe their running plays have become predictable. LaDainian Tomlinson suggested as much last week, saying he hears from opponents that tell him they've figured out the Jets' scheme.