Jets counting on L.T.

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:34 PM ET

By all accounts, LaDainian Tomlinson hasn't exactly turned the New York Jets mini-camp on its ear with his inspired play.

Yet the team appears willing to go into the season banking on the same Tomlinson for somewhere in the neighbourhood of 50% of its rushing plays.

The plan right now, according to running backs coach Anthony Lynn, is a big back, small back tandem of Shonn Greene and Tomlinson doing what Thomas Jones and (until he got injured) Leon Washington did.

Tomlinson will come in when the Jets are looking for that smaller speed back, while Greene gets the ball when the Jets feel a bigger back will have more success against a particular defence.

This would all be fine and good if it were the L.T. of two or three years ago we were talking about. Instead, it's the L.T., whose career has been in decline since the 2006-07 season when he ran for an unbelievable 28 touchdowns, averaging 5.2 yards a carry in a season in which he topped the 1,800-yard mark.

Compare that to last season when he played just 14 games, rushed for a respectable 12 touchdowns, but a paltry 730 yards, the only time in his career he has failed to crack the 1,000-yard mark. For all intents and purposes, he was a red-zone back last season and not much else.

So for all the improvements the Jets appear to have going for them heading into the season -- a stronger secondary with the addition of Antonio Cromartie, a full year of experience and a long playoff run for young quarterback Mark Sanchez not to mention the addition of another threat at wide receiver in Santonio Holmes -- the Jets' bread and butter, their running game, appears to have some question marks.

Combine that with the loss of nine-time Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca and you start to wonder if all the additions will outweigh the concerns the team must be having.

OH, ALBERT

Already roundly despised in the U.S. capital, Albert Haynesworth now has managed to tick off some bankers in Tennessee. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, the Clayton Bank and Trust is suing Haynesworth for more than $2.4-million US. Apparently, Haynesworth took out a loan for $2.38-million soon after he agreed to his $100-million deal with Redskins owner Dan Synder. The same Snyder that Haynesworth is refusing to play for because the team is no longer playing the defence he can excel in.

The bank was under the impression it would be getting its money back. Haynesworth has decided otherwise and wasn't making payments. The bank is suing for the original mount plus interest. This keeps up, Haynesworth is going to have to leave the U.S. to find a friendly face.

AT THE HALF

Call us skeptical, but exactly what can WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) do for the NFL. The league can't seriously want actual drug testing. Who would be left to play? But the Washington Post is reporting the league not only met with WADA, it went all the way to Montreal to do so. Why? ... The Carolina Panthers signed a quarterback Tuesday that they drafted earlier this spring but it wasn't Jimmy Clausen. Tony Pike, a sixth-rounder out of Cincinnati, is under contract with Clausen still unsigned ... From the that's-hard-to-believe departments comes this via ESPN. Seattle head coach Pete Carroll is telling reporters that Leon Washington -- he of the compound leg fracture less than a calendar year ago -- will be ready for training camp. That is either some quick healing or one mighty optimistic head coach.

FOURTH AND INCHES

Sports Illustrate's Peter King thinks Tim Tebow is headed for a long career. Others, plenty of others, believe the Broncos will regret wasting a first-round pick on the unorthodox quarterback. Brady Quinn, who should be cheering like crazy the Tebow skeptics are right, came out yesterday praising his competition. We're at the point now where we're just tired of hearing about him ... It's too early to get concerned, but Kellen Winslow was a no-show at the Tampa Bay mandatory mini-camp Tuesday. The team is said to be in favour of Winslow coming back slowly from minor off-season knee surgery.

MIKE.GANTER@SUNMEDIA.CA


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