Early in Thursday's loss to the Denver Broncos, the New York Jets lost running back Shonn Greene to a rib injury. X-rays came up negative and Greene showed all signs of being ready to return to the game, but the Jets decided to play it safe. Backup Joe McKnight was given the bulk of the touches, including plenty of third down work in the passing game. He finished the day with 16 carries for 59 yards and six receptions for 62 yards.
Entering Thursday's game, McKnight had a grand total of 53 rushing yards and 29 receiving yards. In his brief career to date he had 291 total yards. Greene indicated he planned on returning in week twelve against the Buffalo Bills, but McKnight's performance opens the door for some more touches even if Greene is healthy. Shonn Greene has struggled to get going this season and it would not be surprising to see him end up splitting more carries with McKnight as the Jets try and jump-start their ground game.
Greene remains the play right now, but it is worth keeping an eye on McKnight. Given his use in the passing game, we could at the very least see more third down work for him. It is possible he emerges over the next few weeks into a bit of a Mike Tolbert role with the Jets.