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Cosell: Shonn Greene is a “one-speed runner”

Shonn Greene Pic Getty Images

Jets running back Shonn Greene burst onto the NFL scene during the playoffs following the 2009 regular season. In three postseason appearances that January, Greene rushed 54 times for 304 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 5.6 yards per carry.

Greene looked like an explosive tackle breaker during his rookie year, but he hasn’t seemed the same since. He played behind an aging LaDainian Tomlinson in 2010, and turned in a mediocre 2011 season, his first year as the Jets’ starter.

Greg Cosell of NFL Films, who studies the game tape, believes limited talent has contributed to Greene’s failure to develop into a dynamic NFL back.

I think he’s a little bit of a one-speed runner,” Cosell said, “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 explained that Greene lacks an ability to create yardage on his own.

“There’s no question that there’s no creativity to his running,” said Cosell. “And when I say creativity, you don’t have to be incredibly elusive. … 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.”

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34 Responses to “Cosell: Shonn Greene is a “one-speed runner””
  1. flapjackdaddy says: Jul 2, 2012 2:22 PM

    Guys like that need an good O-line to succeed as an every down back. If they don’t have that they’re ultimately a short-yardage guy.

  2. mrsryansfamoustoejam says: Jul 2, 2012 2:23 PM

    Well, if anyone can add creativity to his running or footwork, Rexy is the man to do it!

  3. finsfan71 says: Jul 2, 2012 2:26 PM

    Sounds like he’s perfect for the creativity challenged offense of one Tony Sporano. Listen up Shonn, get your team into field goal position; Sporano will do the rest.

  4. yelix says: Jul 2, 2012 2:29 PM

    Kirk Ferentz doesn’t really favor smaller, elusive running backs that are so prevalent in both college and the NFL today. Iowa’s offense is basically the offense Kansas City ran when Marty was coach.

  5. antalicus says: Jul 2, 2012 2:30 PM

    I agree. Tebow is a better running back than Shonn.

  6. teamobijuan says: Jul 2, 2012 2:30 PM

    Someone explain to this analyst that today’s NFL doesn’t need “foundation backs”.

  7. scubasteve4930 says: Jul 2, 2012 2:31 PM

    another over-rated piece of this team…he wouldnt be starting anywhere else

  8. jenniferxxx says: Jul 2, 2012 2:34 PM

    That one speed had better be ‘fast’.

  9. coutre says: Jul 2, 2012 2:37 PM

    Maybe he should start up a foundation and hire D’Brickshaw’s mother to run it. Maybe Ferguson will block more for him then.

  10. hughrenassle says: Jul 2, 2012 2:40 PM

    And in other news, the sky is blue, the sun came up this morning, and Bill Bellichik’s Patriots cheated to win their Super Bowl titles.

  11. lionsdraftguy says: Jul 2, 2012 2:48 PM

    Im confused as to who thought Greene was a phenomenal back anyway. That whole team is overrated.

  12. pftfollower says: Jul 2, 2012 2:49 PM

    Couldn’t agree more. Maybe Shonn should try working out. I find it impossible to believe that a guy who eats and works out the way a pro running back should would have that gut every year.

  13. mike5011ad says: Jul 2, 2012 2:49 PM

    You should always be careful about young RB’s that come on late in the season and have huge games. Many times, they have fresh legs and get some big runs on teams that have players that have been beat down by the grind of a long NFL season. James Starks had a good run on the Packer’s Super Bowl run, but he’s not a 1500 yard back. Anybody remember Jerome Harrison breaking Jim Brown’s Cleveland rushing record with 286 yards rushing late in the 2009 season? He had less than 100 career carries in 3 prior seasons, and not too many after that. Being a number 1 RB means you can carry the load for 16+ games, not have a hot streak when you’re fresh, but everyone else is broken down.

  14. rajbais says: Jul 2, 2012 2:49 PM

    That speed is slow!!!

    The New York Jets’ running back corps makes the Indianapolis Colts’ look like track stars!!!

  15. citizenstrange says: Jul 2, 2012 2:55 PM

    Remember when “creating separation” was just called “getting open” and a “one speed runnner” was just called “slow?”

  16. lrjets says: Jul 2, 2012 3:00 PM

    Wow…now Cosell is an analyst? If it weren’t for his uncle Howard, he’d be a projectionist in a movie theatre in Times Square.
    Working nights.

  17. pacmantriggerman says: Jul 2, 2012 3:05 PM

    Greene already peaked out.

  18. cannonballdookie says: Jul 2, 2012 3:05 PM

    He can’t even be a successful short yardage back. He isn’t much different than Cedric Benson. He will get yards if you feed him a million carries but won’t create anything on his own.

  19. billythebuffalo says: Jul 2, 2012 3:24 PM

    He’s already going to be 27 by the time the NFL Regular Season starts.

    He’s a mid-level starting RB that happens to be behind a decent offensive line.

  20. kenny1976 says: Jul 2, 2012 3:33 PM

    Reminds me of Emmit Smith.
    Only as good as the line in front of him.
    Take away the good blocking and they both put up pedestrian numbers.

  21. mindcrime401 says: Jul 2, 2012 3:37 PM

    Was he trying to break the record for using the word “think” in his breakdown of a player?

  22. jpack1974 says: Jul 2, 2012 3:55 PM

    Emmit Smith pedestrian? You must be on some nice drugs. Yes, the dude had an awesome line, and great players around him. But you do not do what he did with pedestrian talent. Please guys, use your brains before you post!

  23. deljzc says: Jul 2, 2012 3:56 PM

    Most draft experts had this exact same opinion of Green when he came out in the draft. People might forget but top of the 3rd round was high for him. He was a mid-round talent all the way. What Cosell reference is just why.

  24. gothwolf says: Jul 2, 2012 3:58 PM

    Greene is fine. He’s got great size and vision….those can outweigh speed.

    His problem has been the Jets insane infatuation with trying to prove Mark Sanchez is an NFL caliber QB by having him pass continuously until something good happens.

  25. granadafan says: Jul 2, 2012 4:05 PM

    The problem with “one-speed” runners like Shonn Greene is that they were so used to using their speed growing up that they never really developed good moves. At Iowa his line opened up massive holes that a truck could drive through. Now in the NFL, everyone is fast, and speedy backs have more of a tough time adjusting.

  26. deathtoromo says: Jul 2, 2012 7:28 PM

    He’s also one of the most hated fantasy players behind Donald Driver and Ryan Matthews.

  27. berniemadoffsides says: Jul 2, 2012 7:47 PM

    Ron Dayne Jr.

  28. phillytj says: Jul 2, 2012 9:10 PM

    Any high school coach can break down film as well as Greg Cosell. Thanks for the story – we all know Shonn Greene is very average.

  29. tednancy says: Jul 2, 2012 9:45 PM

    Comparing Shonn Greene to Emmitt????

    What an idiotic comment!

  30. peepeetoucher says: Jul 3, 2012 12:04 AM

    Shonn Green ranked 13th in rushing yards last season with a total of 1054 yds. on 253 attempts. Avg 4.2 a carry . I think he did fine in his 1st year as a starter. He’s gotta get his TD’s up though. Pro tape watcher Cosell isn’t telling us something that everybody didn’t already know. Shonn would rather go through you then juke or go around you with a speed burst cuz he has none. Never has and never will. Which does effect his game in the second level for long chunk gains. Still doesn’t mean he can’t be a productive back in the NFL.

  31. 2quickwick says: Jul 3, 2012 12:33 AM

    teamobijuan says:
    Jul 2, 2012 2:30 PM

    Someone explain to this analyst that today’s NFL doesn’t need “foundation backs”.
    ________________________________

    “This analyst” is 1 of the most highly regarded, most respected analysts of our time lol.

    I don’t think he meant ‘foundation back’ as in a do-it-all every down, every series type back, but more of a franchise/long-term back that you can model your running game to.

    But as far as Shonn Green goes, dude just doesn’t have what it takes. Aside from not being the slightest bit elusive, he lacks the vision to see openings & holes for him to even put his head down n go. His power n strength can certainly ware a defense down, but needs to improve his footwork n work on his timing (in every sense of the word).

  32. jets13 says: Jul 3, 2012 6:21 AM

    Shonn Greene is a power back. During the playoffs your refrecing the Jets were a ground and pound team, which wears a D down and allows a power back to shine. Schotty went from that to a team that runs the ball less and less. I have no doubt Sparano will run the ball more and Green will do better; I am not saying top 5 back or anything, but he will have around 1100 yards, 10 TDs and a 3.7 average.

  33. cornersportsnet says: Jul 3, 2012 8:46 AM

    Every half back needs blocking and a good line except barry sanders good evaluation of shonn greene hes 3 yards and a cloud of dust tell me something i dont know

  34. nyjetblue says: Jul 3, 2012 10:38 AM

    No, he doesn’t make them miss…but he drags them another three yards before he goes down.

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