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Running back roulette

Posted by Albert Breer  March 2, 2010 02:03 PM

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Just like I was asked about LaDainian Tomlinson a couple weeks back, I'm being asked now about Thomas Jones and the prospect that the Patriots could corner the market on 30-something backs.

Don't count on it. But one thing could lead to another -- give the Tweets of Newsday's Bob Glauber and ex-NFL OT Roman Oben credit for calling my attention to it -- affecting the Patriots.

Jones' ouster in New York leaves a void for a complimentary back, with Shonn Greene now installed as starter and Leon Washington still recovering from a broken leg that shelved him for most of 2009 and could complicate his return in 2010. Who'd be perfect to fill that void? Why, how about Tomlinson? Check it out:

1) Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer was quarterbacks coach in San Diego, and has installed that Ernie Zampese/Norv Turner-style system in New York. So the coach knows the player, and the player knows the scheme.

2) The run-first Jets plan to lean on Greene, and for good reason ... He was outstanding down the stretch. But the fact remains that he's really been a bellcow for only one season (his final season at Iowa in 2008) as a collegian or pro. At 226 pounds, he looks plenty durable. But the Jets need insurance, or risk losing their identity on offense with an injury.

3) Speaking of injuries, New York's putting a brave face on this, but Washington's not out of the woods yet, plus he's a restricted free agent. LT's versatility would provide the Jets with a measure of insurance on Washington's health.

All that said about Jones and Tomlinson ... I don't think either is the most desirable tailback in his 30s out there. That, in my humble opinion, is Chester Taylor.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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