Fourth string running back Jonathan Grimes isn't one of those flashy running backs whose name will automatically standout however, he has been a dependable force for his former team at William & Mary and turned heads in Houston when he ran with a purpose in the preseason. However, being the fourth man behind the trio of Arian Foster, Ben Tate and Justin Forsett and being on the practice squad to boot, his tenure with the Texans was bound to be brief. After the early struggles from the running back committee, the Jets signed Grimes off the Texans' practice squad and looked to be in position to see some sort of work with Joe McKnight's switch to cornerback. However, McKnight returned to the offense after a few days, again burying Grimes on the depth chart. This week however, Grimes has an opportunity to get a good amount of snaps and he will be ready for the call.
In Grimes [William & Mary coach Jimmye Laycock] found a player who was relentless, who could return kicks, split out wide and carry the ball. The Palmyra native went on to win the Colonial Athletic Association Conference rookie of the year award, and eventually became the school’s all-time leading rusher (4,541 yards), leader in all-purpose yards (7,955 yards) and leader in attempts (936).I'm not going to anoint him the next C-Mart because there will only ever truly be one but just by some of things you hear and how he speaks you can tell they do have similar qualities in character and his work ethic and dependability certainly do sound familiar. The question is, was the preseason an aberration or can he build upon that here in New York? The reoccurring theme to this point has been that he has been overshadowed by other talent only to emerge with nothing spectacularly flashy but enough to make a great impact in the game.
Laycock didn’t see it coming, but he wasn’t complaining.
“The only way to go half speed was to take him out,” Laycock said in a phone interview Tuesday. “He’s got the whole package.”
On Monday, Lynn walked up to the No. 4 running back on his depth chart and coolly offered him another opportunity: “Well, looks like you’re going to be up. Get ready and stay on top of everything.”
“I’m always preparing like I’m going to start a game,” said Grimes, who was signed off the Texans’ practice squad on Sept. 25. “I learned that from a young age. You never know what’s going to happen and you can’t guarantee when you’re going to get thrown into the fire.”
Laycock said there wasn’t a specific moment that ended up allowing Grimes to run away with the starter’s job at William & Mary. There was no defining stiff arm or blistering run that remains etched in his mind.
Instead, there was a dependability to expect anything. He remembers three straight weeks during Grimes’ senior year where he couldn’t practice because of a sprained ankle, and three straight weeks where he still ran for more than 200 yards on Saturday.
Getting rid of him once he started getting the carries was the hardest part.
While he was active against his former team, he didn't see any playing time but with Bilal Powell and Joe McKnight sidelined, Grimes has an opportunity to showcase himself against an opponent that has done relatively well at defending the run so far this season (currently ranked sixth in the league). The Jets do have the opportunity to use Lex Hilliard but he was brought in to be a fullback especially with John Conner still battling with a nagging hamstring injury, and struggling overall, which means Grimes should see some work behind Greene against New England particularly if Greene's struggles reemerge. While Grimes is more familiar with the zone blocking scheme than the Jets' power blocking one, given the struggles by all top three backs recently, the Colts game not withstanding, the Jets owe it to him and to themselves to see if he can have a significant role with the team.