EAST RUTHERFORD NJ - AUGUST 16: Joe McKnight #25 of the New York Jets rushes against the New York Giants during their game at New Meadowlands Stadium on August 16 2010 in East Rutherford New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
There is an old saying, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." In some ways the present Jets struggle down the stretch resembles the one the team suffered in 2008. The offense is laboring to generate anything positive.
Back in 2008, the most explosive player the Jets had was Leon Washington. Weeks 15 and 16 of that year, Washington had a combined 5 offensive touches. With a struggling offense, that was inexplicable. Washington was the most likely candidate on the team to generate a big play. The Jets wised up against Miami Week 17 and got him the ball 16 times, which he turned into 89 yards from scrimmage.
This year the Jets are similarly struggling to move the ball. Once again, a running back of theirs is showing himself to be a homerun threat on kick returns. This time it is Joe McKnight. Once again, the Jets refuse to incorporate him into the offense. McKnight has seen a combined 12 plays in his last three games. He is nursing an injury, but the Jets have kept him active the last two weeks. He must be pretty healthy. Many of those plays came in garbage time against the Eagles. Why would the team stick McKnight out there for meaningless snaps if he was in danger of sustaining a more serious injury?
McKnight creates matchup problems for a defense. On one of his plays Saturday, the Jets were able to isolate him on a linebacker on a vertical route. McKnight got wide open, but Mark Sanchez missed him. The Jets never tried to exploit McKnight again.
Joe has shown he is dangerous with the ball in his hands and could be the big play threat this offense lacks. When split wide, he is a headache. The Jets could see they have a matchup edge but never tried to create the mismatch again. McKnight was buried on the bench. How does that happen?
If you split him wide, he gets a favorable matchup with a linebacker. The defense can't sub in an extra defensive back because it creates a blocking mismatch if McKnight lines up in the backfield and runs it. Joe could also be dangerous in space on screens and on outside runs. The way the Jets were blocking up front, he would have had holes and the potential to break a big one.
Instead with a struggling offense, the Jets once again are taking their biggest homerun hitter away. This is an indictment of the offensive coordinator. What is an even bigger indictment is how he has made this mistake in the past and apparently not learned from it.