Joe McKnight: The Argument Against More Touches

A lot has been written on this site about giving Joe McKnight more touches on offense. On the surface it sounds like a good idea and he didn't do anything yesterday against the Patriots to hurt this argument... or did he?

First, let's look at the stats, which most people would point to as the most compelling factor in the argument for giving Joey Mac some more touches:

1) Rushing (2012): 17 rushes for 113 yards (6.6 yds/carry)

On the surface, this is absolutely awesome and who wouldn't want a RB touching the ball 20 times per game if they're going to get you anything close to 6.6 yds/carry? More realistically, we would expect a 4+ yard average and be happy with it.

2) Receiving (2012): 0 receptions for 0 yards

No statistical data this year to draw on, and this may be the most telling stat in favor of a "SMACK YOSELF" to the coaches in charge of managing this. Last year, he caught 13 passes for 139 yards (10.7 yds/catch).

3) Kick Returns (2012): 19 returns for 562 yards, 1 TD (29.6 yds/return)

This is where I base my argument against heavy use going forward, at least as far as the rushing attempts go. He is an absolute game-changer in the return game. As a Jets fan who sees how awesome our kick return coverage is right now, I can see many teams would love to have a guy who gets them 30 yards per return. It is almost a given that he will be able to get past the 20 regardless of where he catches the kick.

So, why can't he play more on offense and keep his return duties? Here is why, and it was proven again last night. When he gets more carries, he gets hurt. Last year against Denver he was given more carries due to injuries to Green and Tomlinson and he ended up playing well with 16 rushes for 59 yards and 6 catches for 62 yards. The yards/rush was not stellar, but this was against a solid Denver defensive unit. The receiving stats were awesome and that is what we need to see more of. But, the bottom line is this: there was a time during the game where Joe was shaken up and had to cede more carries to Bilal Powell.

Again yesterday the same thing happened. After a few solid runs he came up a little lame and had to take himself out of the game. He came into the game with an ankle injury he sustained on his 61-yard run against the Colts last week, another indication that his long-term durability is a concern the more touches he gets.

The bottom line is this: I would LOVE to see a healthy Joe McKnight get more touches than Greene (who also has some durability concerns), but I don't think he is an every-down back. He must be viewed as a 3rd-down back at best and that is where we can get the most out of him. He just doesn't have the frame/balance to sustain hit after hit as an every-down back. Your thoughts?

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