ORCHARD PARK, NY - NOVEMBER 06: Joe McKnight #25 of the New York Jets runs against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on November 6, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York.New York won 27-11. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
If you're still wondering why the Buffalo Bills would keep a kickoff specialist on the active roster, a large part of the reasoning may be staring you in the face in Week 1 in the form of New York Jets running back Joe McKnight.
The NFL's best kick returner a year ago, McKnight averaged 31.6 yards per return, by far a league high. In two games against Buffalo, McKnight averaged 31.5 yards on six returns, including a 59-yarder in Week 9 that also happened to be the play where Rian Lindell got injured. The Jets' average drive start on Bills kickoffs was the 31-yard line.
That, for at least one Sunday, will make rookie John Potter an unusually important factor in facing a Jets team that prioritizes winning the field position battle. McKnight, by the way, is currently dealing with a hamstring injury that could keep him out of the lineup; if he does play, however, it will be a big win for the Bills if Potter can neutralize his return prowess.