Why Joe McKnight touched the ball so sparingly on offense for the Jets in 2011 and 2012 is a question that might never be answered. He averaged 6 yards per carry and took his only reception 18 yards. He only got it 31 times, though.
Let's be clear. McKnight was not a cure for the offense's problems. He is not very big so you would not want to slam him between the tackles. He has not been durable, battling multiple injuries in his career, so you do not want him carrying the load. It is just the Jets have so few difference makers on offense. McKnight has proven to be an explosive kick returner. Surely the Jets could have found 5 to 10 touches on outside runs and screens. They could have figured out ways to get him the ball in space where his speed and agility could have created big plays. On an offense that struggled to sustain anything, the Jets needed to hit homeruns. McKnight was the biggest homerun hitter on the team and barely got touches.
If we are going to be honest, McKnight is never going to be a number one back. He is never going to be able to carry the load and run for 1,000 yards. He can add an extra dimension to the offense and help the Jets make some game-changing plays. Moving to a system where running backs are utilized a lot as receivers, it stands to reason that Joe will be more of a part of the offense. He should be.