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Powell maintains No. 2 role, but Jets' run game struggling early

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Posted Sept. 21, 2012 @ 3:53 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Tony Sparano’s ground-and-pound Jets offense hasn’t bulled anyone over yet through two weeks. The Jets had 118 yards rushing in Week One, but only a 3.3-yard rushing average. They managed 90 rushing yards the following week against the Steelers.

The slow start for the run game, which is key to helping Mark Sanchez set up the play-action vertical passing game, could be due to a new offense, as well as a new right tackle in Austin Howard. To the surprise of many, we haven’t seen much of the “Wildcat” with Tim Tebow, who had a 22-yard run against Pittsburgh.

In the backfield, one noteworthy development has been Bilal Powell, who we hear has surpassed Joe McKnight as the No. 2 back behind Shonn Greene, despite Rex Ryan’s comments on Wednesday that McKnight should expect more plays. Greene has had a history of injuries, and with Sparano using a two-back system often, Powell’s play is key to the rushing attack, and the Jets like him more than McKnight at this point. Powell, a one-cut runner, has 12 carries for 43 yards, and is averaging one-half yard more per carry than Greene. But if the run game continues to struggle, we could see more gadgetry involving Tebow or McKnight. 

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