NY Jets plan to stick with Zonovan Knight even with Michael Carter returning

NY Jets, Zonovan Knight
NY Jets, Zonovan Knight / Al Bello/GettyImages

NY Jets running back Michael Carter officially returned to practice on Wednesday, leading to optimism that he will be able to play this Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.

In Carter's absence, rookie running back Zonovan Knight has shined, racking up 221 scrimmage yards and 5.5 yards per carry over the last two weeks. Head coach Robert Saleh was asked about Knight's expected role once Carter returned, and he didn't mince words.

"He's not going anywhere," Saleh told reporters on Wednesday about his rookie running back. The Jets don't plan to remove Knight from the offensive game plan even with Carter returning.

Now, exactly how large of a role Knight has remains to be seen. But the safe bet is to assume that he and Carter will be the primary running backs on early downs with Ty Johnson handling third-down situations. James Robinson will likely go back to being a healthy scratch.

What will Zonovan Knight's role be with the NY Jets when Michael Carter returns?

Carter proved last season that he can be a capable RB1 as part of a backfield committee, but what Knight has done over the last two weeks shouldn't be ignored.

The former NC State standout set a Jets record for most scrimmage yards in an NFL debut in Week 12 before topping that performance with 90 yards on 15 carries to go along with five catches for 28 yards this past Sunday.

Over the last two weeks, only Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders has forced more missed tackles than Knight. He's given the Jets the most impressive performances from a running back they've seen since Breece Hall's injury.

The Jets may like Carter, but Knight has easily been the more efficient player in a limited sample size. This doesn't mean he's automatically going to be given the RB1 role, though.

The more likely scenario will see the Jets hand Carter back his old role while Knight takes on the James Robinson RB2 role for the time being. But if Knight continues to impress, it might be difficult to justify limiting his touches.

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Expect a heavy dosage of both Carter and Knight this Sunday. The Jets know what they have in Knight — they're going to make sure he gets his snaps.