New York Jets running back Cedric Houston is a finalist for the FedEx Ground NFL Player of the week. Houston, a second-year pro, ran for a career-high 105 yards and a career-high two touchdowns in the Jets' 38-10 Week 13 victory over the Green Bay Packers.
"This is a pretty big deal," Houston said following the win. "And to do it at Lambeau Field is big. Really big."
Houston, originally selected by the Jets in the sixth round of the 2005 NFL Draft, also caught three balls for 24 yards during the Jets' seventh win of the season. The Jets had their way with the Packers' defense all day, totaling 441 yards of offense including 178 on the ground. Houston shared backfield duties with rookie Leon Washington, who added 40 yards rushing and one rushing touchdown.
"I thought Cedric did a nice job and I thought the offensive line did a nice job," said New York head coach Eric Mangini. "It was a nice mixture of Cedric and Leon. They complemented each other, and I really like the job that the offensive line did as well."
Due to coaching decisions and a knee injury, Houston was inactive for seven games this season. But he has seen action the past three games, carrying 44 times for 168 yards. The 6'0", 220-pound power runner has scored four touchdowns in just five games.
"We know we can run the football and this was one of those types of days where we showed we could run the football a lot," Houston said Sunday.
The Jets do not have a typical "feature back" and they attempt to highlight players in particular offensive packages against different personnel. Washington is the club's leading rusher, having gained 511 yards in his first season. Kevan Barlow, who was inactive for the first time this season last weekend, leads the Jets with six rushing touchdowns and is second on the team with 334 rushing yards. Mangini says whoever practices well will be on the field this weekend when the Jets host the Buffalo Bills at the Meadowlands.
"It will be exactly the same this week," Mangini said. "All three guys will have a chance, and whoever practices the best will play."