The Jets continue to embrace competition at all positions, so it was no surprise to hear Jets RB coach Anthony Lynn repeat that mantra during an exclusive interview that will air on "Jets Talk LIVE" on Thursday.
"We lost Shonn Greene and in my opinion it's wide open," said Lynn. "That is what you want. You want guys coming to camp, coming to work every day and competing for the position, knowing that if you slack (off) — someone else is going to step right in."
Lynn, who is entering his fifth season as the Jets RB coach, recently added the title of assistant head coach on his resume.
"Rex and I have sat down and talked about myself being in more decision making meetings and having more of a say in how we go about our everyday business, so I'm looking forward to that. But as far as my role with the team — I don't see that changing much," he said. "I'm still going to be working with the running backs. I 'm sure I'll work more side-by-side with Marty (Mornhinweg) in helping him with those things, but I've always done those things and I've always tried to be a sounding board for whoever. I'm excited about the opportunity and we'll see where it goes."
While Greene inked a deal with the Tennessee Titans, the Green & White opted to go with a more versatile, explosive option in free agency and signed Mike Goodson.
"Goodson is a guy I've had my eyes on for a long time," Lynn said… "He has always been a dynamic back, an explosive back. He is fast, he is quick, he can catch and he is a great athlete. With the offense we are in now and with that skillset, it's going to be a good combination."
Goodson joins a RB stable that includes Bilal Powell, Joe McKnight, John Griffin and Lex Hilliard. Powell flashed in his second season, running for 437 yards and adding 17 receptions.
"When you look at Bilal Powell's history, this guy became a player about his junior year in high school. He became a pro prospect about his junior year in college and this is his junior year in the NFL," Lynn said. "I'm expecting Bilal Powell to really jump off the charts this year and really grow. He came a ways last year, but he is not there yet. If I got about 80% out of 100, I'm going to get the other 20% of him this year and I think you're going to see a dynamic runner in Bilal Powell this season."
Goodson collected 40 receptions with the Panthers in 2010 and the Jets will throw to their backs more in Mornhinweg's attack.
"The West Coast system will go to the running backs sometimes before the wide receivers depending on the matchup. So if you have a guy like Goodson, a Bilal Powell or a Joe McKnight that can get 1-on-1 and can win, read and recognize coverages —that is going to work to the offense's advantage."
Lynn, who also praised the versatility of Lex Hilliard during our sit-down, said the Jets will not abandon the ground game. But Mornhinweg will find favorable matchups for his RBs to make plays in the open field.
"I think now you're going to see things open up a little bit more," Lynn said. "You're going to see these backs in space probably more than you have in the past."
Greene, who paced the Jets the past two seasons in yards with 1,054 in 2011 and 1,063 in '12, played a number of key roles for Lynn. The Jets no longer have a true bruiser, but the new assistant coach is confident someone will step up and tackle more responsibility.
"Shonn also played in short yardage, goal line, coming out, four-minute — all those tough situations where you don't get the big yards per carry," he said. "You need someone to be able to step in and do that dirty work. And right now if we played tomorrow, Bilal Powell would have to assume that role. But Lex Hilliard is another candidate for that role and then we may find a kid in the draft that we like and can help us pound it between the tackles. I don't know, but we'll get it done."