The NY Jets made the surprising decision to render running back James Robinson a healthy scratch for the team's Week 12 game against the Chicago Bears. After seeing the results, it's hard to argue with the decision.
With Robinson inactive, undrafted rookie Zonovan Knight was able to make his NFL debut, and following an injury to Michael Carter, Knight and fellow running back Ty Johnson put together an incredibly productive and efficient day on the ground.
Knight's emergence has led to questions about Robinson's future in the Jets' offense, and it seems as though the veteran running back wasn't too happy about being left out of the gameplan this past weekend.
Robinson told ESPN's Rich Cimini that he was "upset" about the team's decision to leave him inactive while also insisting that he doesn't "know what [the Jets] have planned for [him]."
"Obviously, I didn't come here not to play. Obviously, they brought me here for a reason. I don't expect anything unless I work for it, and I've been working my ass off. Me not playing pisses me off."- James Robinson
The NY Jets may not have a role for James Robinson moving forward
Robinson is just like any football player — he wants to play football. It's difficult to get upset with a guy who simply wants to do his job. His words seem to come from a place of eagerness and frustration as opposed to resentfulness.
Still, given how well Knight played on Sunday, it's hard to imagine the Jets will look to send him back to the bench. The good news for Robinson is that he may receive another opportunity to prove himself this week even with a healthy Knight.
Carter injured his ankle during Sunday's 31-10 victory and did not practice on Wednesday. There's a decent chance that he's unable to play in Week 13, and if that's the case, Robinson will likely split touches with Knight and Johnson.
Head coach Robert Saleh explained the decision to bench Robinson for Knight by saying the coaching staff believed that the Jets left "a lot of meat on the bone in the run game" over the last few weeks.
Perhaps Saleh was on to something as Knight went on to total a franchise-record 103 scrimmage yards in his NFL debut. Yes, it was against a porous Bears defense, but Knight more than took advantage of the snaps he was afforded.
The Jets traded a conditional sixth-round pick for Robinson prior to the trade deadline following Breece Hall's season-ending injury. That pick could become a fifth-rounder if Robinson rushes for 260 yards with the Jets. In three games with the team, he's already amassed 75 yards.
James Robinson wants to play football, and for that, it's hard to blame him. All he can do now is maximize the touches he's given and away his next opportunity — one that could come as soon as this Sunday.