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McKnight Named AFC ST Player of the Month

Posted by Randy Lange on November 3, 2011 – 11:50 am

Updated, 4:35 p.m. ET

Heading into November, Joe McKnight has been on a return roll, and that roll continues today with word that the NFL has named the Jets’ second-year man its AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for October.

“It feels good,” McKnight said after practice today. “It was a long road to get here and I just want to keep thriving off of this and just keep making plays.”

McKnight took over the kickoff return duties from Antonio Cromartie with the Jets’ first game of the 10th month and promptly turned in the longest play in franchise history and the third-longest kickoff return in NFL history, a 107-yard runback for a TD that enabled the Jets to tie the Ravens early in their Sunday night affair. He also erupted for an 88-yard return to set up a 20-yard touchdown drive the next week at New England.

For the four games in October, McKnight had 11 returns for 443 yards, a rocking 40.3-yard average. Add in two September returns and his 40.0 mark is almost 10 yards ahead of the field for the league leadership in return average.

The NFL began naming AFC and NFC Players of the Month for offense, defense and special teams in 1986. In that span the Jets have gained 17 POM awards. Four of the last six of those have gone to players on coordinator Mike Westhoff’s special teams — KR Justin Miller (October 2006), K Mike Nugent (December 2006), KR Brad Smith (December 2010) and now McKnight.

McKnight is happy now to be one of Coach Westy’s big contributors.

“Coach Westhoff believes in me, so if he believes in me, I know I can do it because Coach Westhoff doesn’t give anybody the time of day,” McKnight said with a chuckle. “When he believed in me, that I could do it, that’s when I knew I could do it and go out there and make plays.”

Perhaps November will open McKnight for more plays and more honors. As head coach Rex Ryan said this week about using No. 25 on offense more at Buffalo on Sunday, “Yes, absolutely, he’ll get more opportunities this week.”

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Posted in Randy Lange | 19 Comments »

19 Responses to “McKnight Named AFC ST Player of the Month”

  1. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 3, 2011 | Reply

    Now there’s a well-deserved honor if ever I saw one! Nice, too, to hear Rex say that McKnight will carry the ball more this Sunday and to read today that he’s taking some snaps at WR in practice. We need all the speed and explosiveness that we can get on O and I have a feeling McKnight’s one of the guys who’ll give us that over the next few years.

  2. By russ on Nov 3, 2011 | Reply

    The next two games determine if we have a team of destiny or just another football team..these are the teams in our division and how we play will determine all….no if’s ands or buts…..

  3. By IRA on Nov 3, 2011 | Reply

    I was wrong about McKnight from last year. He finally has shown that he can take his outstanding athletic ability and produce at the NFL level. I expect a big game from him this week. I also think he will have his # called more with the offense.
    congrats to Joe and
    GO JETS!!!!

  4. By Howard on Nov 3, 2011 | Reply

    well deserved congratulations to joe mc kepp it going young fellow

  5. By Keith on Nov 3, 2011 | Reply

    Good job, Joe. You have a place in the NFL, just keep pushing. Us JETS fans are demanding, but keep it up and you will see a McKnight jersey in the stands twenty years from now.

  6. By davetharave on Nov 3, 2011 | Reply

    Joe himself would probably admit that last year, his rookie season, he was in just a bit over his head. How a guy who looked totally lost one year can turn it 100% the next is incredible, and he can be so much more than just a special teams player. Rex and the Jets coaches HAVE to get Joe into the backfield and start giving him 7-10 carries a game. He presents a different running style then either Greene or LT (he can pound it OR slash it) and could be a really big headache to opposing defenses and a huge plus to the offense.

  7. By dougmc on Nov 3, 2011 | Reply

    Take the ball if we win the toss and hopefully McKnight will set us up for opening drive score and we take the crowd out early! Great line-play on both sides of the ball is crucile this game.

  8. By wayne on Nov 3, 2011 | Reply

    Way to go Joe……..Way to show the doubters…..The Buffalo game should be the more difficult…….Key to beating NE is sacking Brady. Jets got to him, but GQ, Mr. Spice, was awful against a horrendous defense last time…….Buffalo is a different animal from what Jets have become familiar with…….Could be a serious shootout…….It will be a glaring indictment of GQ if he spits the bit against that NE defense again.

  9. By Tom Spicer on Nov 3, 2011 | Reply

    In order to win the divsion we have to win this week. So it is kind of a must win.

  10. By Tom Spicer on Nov 3, 2011 | Reply

    Give McKnight more carrys lets see what this kid has.

  11. By GaryC on Nov 3, 2011 | Reply

    see jet fan tom, even you and I knew that Mcknight had experience as a slot at USC. what took the jets so long to figure this out.too much time wasted with Mason when he should have never been brought in.

  12. By Karan on Nov 3, 2011 | Reply

    I apologize to McKnight for doubting him so much last year, sorry man! You have been just awesome this year, deserve the AFC ST player of the month award, keep it up! :D

  13. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 3, 2011 | Reply

    Hey GaryC, I had a post here agreeing with you about McKnight and pointing out that it was Hard Knocks and Rex’s inappropriate sense of humor that made McKnight a laughing stock when plenty of other rookies have the same problems every year. Maybe Randy didn’t print it because I referred to Haynesworth, who also couldn’t pass his physical despite a $100 mil contract, in less than glowing terms.

  14. By sal1 on Nov 3, 2011 | Reply

    We need to put Mayhim Myabin in every snap, especillay against the team that cut him. Dude is a beast… Play him

  15. By fred on Nov 3, 2011 | Reply

    This is exactly why fans like me & many others are not GMS – I had Joe cut last year in favor of Woodhead & Chauncey Washington way to go Joe

  16. By Ed in Tucson on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    If McKnight can take it around end consistently our ground game will be awesome & MS can move us along the way Big Ben moved the Steelers against the Pats. If I remember correctly, he only threw 2 passes over 20 yds in a beautiful example of ball control; Pit had a 40-20 advantage in TOP – that’s how you beat elite QBs, keep em on the bench.
    The same thing goes for the Bills, keep their O on the bench & our D well rested. Jets win 31-17.

  17. By bass53 on Nov 4, 2011 | Reply

    this guy was one of the most heavily recruited players coming out of H,S .USC an pete carrol seem to find some pretty good running backs he might be the fastest guy on the team.. he is a bigger faster more physical runner than leon washington.. when he lit up this same buffalo team last year ,, i saw a guy run with authority albeit a poor rushing d from the bills but none the less he showed vision and patience while running.. not to mention….he has wheels… not a bad late round pick mr T he seems to be a fine receiver and that catch he made against the chargers was impressive… i hope he gets more touches he certainly deserves it..

  18. By Penn Jester on Nov 7, 2011 | Reply

    Well it’s good to see that the decision to keep McKnight over Woodhead was not a failure – although Woodhead did some good stuff for the Pats (more last year than this year).

  19. By tampajet on Nov 7, 2011 | Reply

    Sometimes you have to trust the coaches in there decisions.Great job letting some players go and keeping McKnight.And when L.T. retires he will jump right in.Quietly we are becoming a young team and will be very good for a long while.

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