Most of Devin Hester's return TDs are punt returns. Hester averaged 21.9 yards on kickoffs last year. He averages 23.7 yards per return for his career. In the last 4 years, he's run back 5 punts, but only 1 kickoff. His career best kickoff return average is 26.4.
McKnight's return average was 31.6 last year, on 34 returns. I've gone back to 1996 without finding someone that has matched that number (min. 20 returns). The next place guy in 2011 was Randall Cobb, at 27.7 yards per return.
Okay. So McKnight was off the charts good last year. I really had no idea that he'd done such a great job returning. I need to see it for another year before I feel comfortable saying that it's anything more than 1 really good year. If he's up in the 27s this year, then he's a legitimately great return man. If he's up around 30 again, he's some kind of kick returning savant, because that would be completely unprecedented.
and he's returning the kicks from the back of the endzone... not from the goal line or 5 yd line.
by all means keep Powell in the third down role but I hope they start using McKnight more on first/second down, as a change-of-pace option to Greene.
his speed and catching ability gives the offense a different dimension.
especially receiving. I know he has a hard time holding on to the ball and early in the season with all the extra hard hits cause of the excitement Rex and Tony probably wanted to hold off a bit until the dust settled and have him work extra on it with the scout team and thru drills. I have a feeling we'll see more of McKnight week 4 or 5 to throw out looks we ain't been giving to teams yet. Joe runs routes like a receiver. Rex said last year he was running routes so good Santonio was saying "this guy is legit as a receiver" ... making out of bounds catches all slick and etc. If we trust him enough with kick off returns and not fumbling I don't see the reason why not to trust him getting a couple of carries a game and some reps coming out of the backfield. His receiving skills added with Hill, the emergence of Kerley, & the more vertical attacking style .... him coming out of the backfield running double moves on linebackers presents ridiculous opportunies for big plays.
Oddly enough, McKnight far outplayed Hester as a KR last season.
JM was 2nd in the league. Hester? 31st.
McKnight fumbled 3 times last year. Hester? 5. Now you might argue Hester had more plays on offense? You'd be wrong.
McKnight had 43 rushing attempts and 13 receptions plus 39 combined punt and kick returns for a total of 95 'plays'.
Hester had 1 rushing attempt and 26 receptions plus 61 combined punt and kick returns for a total of 87 'plays'.
Hester is a great PR - probably the best in the league, but as a KR, he's ordinary and McKnight appears to be better at this point.
Also, and this surprised me, McKnights mark of 31.6 Yds/Return last season was better than any season Hall ever put up and all but one of Hester's.
Take it for what you will.
Hester is the best punt returner of all time not (probably the best in the league) ... stop it. You obviously haven't seen a game where the punters avoid him and make a mistake and he returns it for either 40 yards or a TD. If you kick it to him and he has a BIT of space ... good luck. As a kick off returner however he's very ordinary. McKnight needs to stay at the pace he was on last year. Last year doesn't mean anything if he drops off big time this year as a kick returner.
agreed and we must find out if he is ready to capitalize on all his talent! if not, its time for him to go. he has had time to show what he has. No more excuses IMO. Making him play CB will only give him another excuse. He is here to be a dynamic RB for us. If he can not do it, someone else can.
I don't think the CS is doing this to give McKnight an opportunity to have an excuse.
Maybe Rex Ryan knows more about what he's doing than you do?