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At RB: McKnight Starts, LT, Greene Inactive

Posted by Randy Lange on January 2, 2011 – 12:01 pm

Rex Ryan was right about Joe McKnight getting “a ton of playing time” against Buffalo today at NMS.

The Jets head coach and his staff have decided to rest RBs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene for the Bills, meaning that fourth-round rookie McKnight will get his first career start and will get the bulk of the carries against the Bills’ 32nd-ranked run defense.

It could be a recipe for a breakout game for McKnight, the former Southern Cal star, taking handoffs at least for the first couple of series from his former USC quarterback, Mark Sanchez. But if he tires or gets dinged up, who carries then? Well, fifth-round rookie John Conner is listed as a fullback but one could see Conner getting some leather time as well. Aside from Tony Richardson, that’s the Jets’ RB depth for today’s game.

Also, starting cornerbacks Darrelle Revis (hamstring) and Antonio Cromartie (groin) will also rest as inactives, meaning that first-rounder Kyle Wilson will be making the sixth start of his rookie season — but only his second as a base-defense CB — and second-year man Marquice Cole will be making his first pro start.

Mark Sanchez is still in line to start at QB for the Jets but is likely to give way early on to Mark Brunell, who then probably will yield in the fourth quarter to Kellen Clemens and perhaps even a cameo role for Brad Smith behind center.

The new corners, backed up by veterans Drew Coleman and just-activated Isaiah Trufant, will be going against a depleted Buffalo WR corps. Steve Johnson is the Bills’ go-to guy and he’s active, but David Nelson and Donald Jones have been declared out with injuries, leaving rookie Naaman Roosevelt and first-year man Paul Hubbard in reserves.

Capping the Jets’ inactive list, safeties Eric Smith (concussion) and James Ihedigbo (knee/ankle) and tackle Damien Woody (knee) have also been IA-ed to get one more week to recover before the Jets return to full-strength mode for their AFC Wild Card Game next week.

This puts several Jets in position for landmark appearances. TE Jeff Cumberland and CB Trufant will be making pro debuts, second-round OL Vladimir Ducasse has played on ST in one game but for all intents and purposes will be making his pro debut, and DT Jarron Gilbert will be making his Jets debut.

For the Bills, the interesting news is that starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is being listed as the third QB due to his knee injury suffered last week vs. New England. That puts the starting job in the hands of Brian Brohm, who started only one other game in his pro career, late last season for the Bills.

Other Buffalo inactives: Jones, T Ed Wang, DT Kellen Heard, G Colin Brown, TE Mike Caussin, WR David Nelson and DE John McCargo.

Besides Brohm and Roosevelt for Nelson, the other starting shakeups for the Bills include Eric Wood for Geoff Hangartner at C, Chad Rinehart for Wood at RG, Erik Pears for Mansfield Wrotto at RT and Leodis McKelvin for Terrence McGee at CB.

And the Opponent in Round 1?

The Jets could know by around 4 o’clock who they’ll be playing in next week’s playoff game. If the Jets lose to the Bills and the Chiefs win at home over Oakland, the sixth-seeded Jets would then be going to Kansas City, Kansas City, here they come, to play the third-seeded Chiefs.

But if the Jets lose while the Chiefs lose, Indianapolis vs. Tennessee would decide whether Indy or KC is the three seed. More on that two graphs down.

And if the Jets win while the Ravens defeat the Bengals and the Steelers lose at Cleveland, all 1 o’clock games, the Jets would get the fifth seed and would play the four seed. And if KC loses, the 3 and the 4 seeds would be decided by Jacksonville at Houston and Indianapolis vs. Tennessee, both 4:15 starts.

If the Colts win, they’d get the 4 and the Jets would then be going back to Lucas Oil Stadium for the third time in a little over a year. If the Colts lose and the Jaguars win, the Jets would then be visiting ALLTEL Stadium as an 11-5 road team playing the AFC South champion Jaguars at 9-7.


There’s also a little wrinkle in the uniforms for today’s game. The Jets are wearing green jerseys and green pants for only the second time this season and the fourth time under Ryan. They won this year’s game in the final minute at New Meadowlands Stadium over the Houston Texans.

And the Bills are adorned in their white jerseys and white pants, with red and blue trim. Rare to get two teams each wearing predominantly one color.


Carl Cheffers is today’s referee. He’s presided at two previous Jets games, both victories for the Green & White — at Tennessee against the then-undefeated Titans in 2008 and at Tampa Bay last season.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 15 Comments »

15 Responses to “At RB: McKnight Starts, LT, Greene Inactive”

  1. By GaryC on Jan 2, 2011 | Reply

    nice to see the younger players getting a chance, hopefully they perform well and it gives rex the idea that younger is better, longterm.hopefully sanchez is not in long because with this new backfield, you don’t want to see him take too many shots.

  2. By scjoe on Jan 2, 2011 | Reply

    Really, I mean REALLY looking forward to seeing some of these younger guys get a nice long look, not just a play or two here and there. On the surface a guy like Cumberland, with his size speed ratio and his hands, can make an impact, McKnight as well. I will admit the one guy I am not that excited about who will be getting a good amount of reps is Brunell. To bad we didn’t have another young guy (Ainge?) on the roster for this momentous occasion (lol) Hard to predict this game under the circumstances, but I will go Jets 27-23

  3. By Mike Jet Vet on Jan 2, 2011 | Reply

    OK that’s what I’m talking my prediction Jets 38 Bills 7 ha ha just playing.. J-M J-C look good real good I said i wanted to see these guys and for weeks waiting to see M-Coles he looked good also that kid Cook looks fast very fast on sts Westerman looked good and still V-G is non existent when are we going to give up on this guy unreal.. Smith over 70 yards 1st 5 minutes of the game all in all feeling good about our depth WE NEED A PASS RUSHER GO JETS

  4. By preston on Jan 2, 2011 | Reply


  5. By scjoe on Jan 2, 2011 | Reply

    Offensive player of the game (among many) McKnight defensive player of the game (among many) Cole. Ok, it was only Buffalo, but they are pros too, and McKnight ran well between the tackles and also to the outside.

  6. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Jan 2, 2011 | Reply

    Well, the McKnight I saw looked like an NFL RB and yeah, it’s only BUF in the last game but a runner who can show that kind of surprising power inside (good point, scjoe) AND turn it outside is what we’ve needed for a long time. Good as Leon was, he went up the middle on big holes, not by carrying guys like I was shocked to see McK do a few times today. In 2 plays (2 TDs), SH and BE show why we need ‘em both, the usual great runs by Smith on the right amount of Wildcat calls, and some encouraging signs on D, Cole, Cook, and Westerman back in the game. And I have to say I like seeing Brunell keep the heat on Sanchez when it comes to throwing downfield. Plus Weatherford nails down the league lead in kicks inside the 20, which is a key stat.

  7. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Jan 2, 2011 | Reply

    Also, McKnight had 34 touches on O plus if I’m not mistaken a more few runs called back on penalties, was thrown to a few more times, had a punt return on which he changed direction very nicely, and played ST’s D. That should help to quiet concerns about his conditioning. I can see a backfield of SG, McK, and JC in the not-too-distant future and with Sanchez, Holmes, Edwards, and Keller starting, that’s a pretty solid O lineup of guys all well under 30. When Rex had the smarts to make SG, LT, Revis, and Cromartie inactive I knew it would be a good day, and LT gets major points for not making a fuss (if he didn’t) about getting his 1,000 yds. Nice to shift focus to next weekend while also feeling a lot better about next yr.!

  8. By Joe on Jan 2, 2011 | Reply

    Did anybody actually hear Rex say we are gonna win it all or is it that pro football talk got it wrong again about Rex.great confidence but 1 game at a time

  9. By Tom Spicer on Jan 2, 2011 | Reply

    Going to the Colts

  10. By GaryC on Jan 2, 2011 | Reply

    welcome back to indy, we’ll have a jetfest and shut the indy media and fans up.

  11. By Mike Jet Vet on Jan 2, 2011 | Reply

    Off topic.. needs to be said .. I think this current playoff system is ridiculous..win your Division should be end of regular season period.. playoff should be a whole new ball game based on strength of schedule and win loss record..ENTER PLAYOFFS whoever has the most wins 1st seed 2th most wins 2 seed so on and so forth in this system its possible for a 12-4 team to travel to a 9-7 team why should teams playing in very competive divisions suffer its not right ,teams like Jags seahawks Rams all had shots at winning home playoff games going into today its bogus.. no lets worry about player fines for playing a game the way its meant to be played and QB’s wearing tu tu’s . R-Goodell needs to be replaced

  12. By Ed in Tucson on Jan 2, 2011 | Reply

    Great game today! I loved the game plan, for the most part. McNight shows potential. Cole is emerging as a stud on D & STs – he downed another 1 at the 3 today. If today is seen as a tryout for the #2 QB, Brad Smith won it, no contest. It was nice to see KC scoot for a TD.
    I only have two complaints. To settle for a FG at the end of that magnificent 7:30 1st drive was frustrating considering how well the pound & ground was going. A naked bootleg by MS on that play probably goes all the way; it certainly gets the 1 yd we needed. The other complaint is how pass happy Brunnel was, he cost us the shutout. All those incomplete passes stopped the clock & slowed the mo that the p&g was creating.
    On to Indy! Go Jets!

  13. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Jan 3, 2011 | Reply

    I woulda preferred KC because Manning can still put the game out of reach in less than a quarter, but I think this Colts team can be beat if we control the ball better, throw it downfield and score, and get some pass rush. Folk kicking indoors is a bonus too, though he’s been okay lately. Anyway, if we can beat both IND and NE we certainly didn’t back into anything. If we can’t, there’s not exactly any shame in that, but what the heck, the real season starts next Saturday!

  14. By Bleedsgreenandwhite on Jan 3, 2011 | Reply

    Joe, I beleive what happened was on “Hard Knocks” rex wrote down somewhere “Soon to be champs”. I think on the side of the Jet’s bus or something, everyone took that and made it out to seem like rex “Gaurenteed” a superbowl or something. But thats just the media for you, and the haters of the green and white.

  15. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Jan 3, 2011 | Reply

    Ed, I loved watching Smith run but he didn’t throw the ball more than what, once, so I don’t see how he wins any “tryout” for backup QB. Actually, watching Brunell throw downfield with such confidence made me a little nervous, because it highlighted how lousy Sanchez played for much of the year. It’s really gonna be tough to watch if he puts up 9 points against the Colts. As for running him on a naked bootleg in a game in which they won’t even let him play on 3rd down, well, I don’t know about that one. And the only thing more meaningless than the outcome of this game is the idea is going for a shutout in it. Enough of that stuff, let’s win in the playoffs.

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