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.”
Tags: Baltimore Ravens, Brad Smith, joe McKnight, New England Patriots, Rex Ryan
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