Joe McKnight, the rookie running back from Southern Cal, has had a well-documented summer with the Jets. After being drafted in the fourth round, the 5’11”, 205-pounder has shown flashes of brilliance like his big 25-yard burst to the outside in this morning’s practice at SUNY Cortland. But he’s also had moments that show he’s still developing.
“I had some good days and some bad days,” said McKnight, the River Ridge, La., native. “You’ve got to be more consistent. That’s what the coaches have been saying — to be more consistent in games and in practice.”
McKnight was featured in Wednesday night’s second episode of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” and was seen in a number of scenes taking instruction from RBs coach Anthony Lynn and veteran WR Santonio Holmes. In one particular scene, Holmes was seen discussing McKnight’s progress with Lynn, and the relationship between the three of those figures seems to be something that could be essential to McKnight’s growth as a player.
“They told me word for word what he said,” said McKnight, who didn’t watch Hard Knocks. “Santonio talked to me as well. To me, that’s a good thing. It tells me that the players and coaches see something in me. I just have to go out there and prove it to them.”
Defense Was Dominant
In other practice news, the defense gave the offense fits today. From knocking down passes to getting sacks, the “D” was flying all over the field, possibly sparked by head coach Rex Ryan’s urging after the preseason-opening 31-16 loss to the Giants and his remarks after Wednesday’s early practice.
LB Bart Scott and S Jim Leonhard recorded sacks, David Harris and Lance Laury both made interceptions, and Dwight Lowery, Kyle Wilson, Emanuel Cook and Eric Smith all made wonderful plays to swat away passes.
“It was a day that was really dominated by the defense,” Ryan said.
Dungy Will Visit
Ryan also said former Super Bowl-winning head coach Tony Dungy has agreed to Ryan’s offer to come visit the Jets and get a feel for the organization. No date has been set following Dungy’s remarks critical of Ryan’s language on the first Hard Knocks and Ryan’s reply Wednesday that he felt Dungy “misjudged me.”
“I did talk to Tony Dungy. He’s going to take me up on the offer,” Ryan said, adding that the two talked “man to man” about the situation. “He’s excited to come out and see us and we’re excited to see him.”
A.M. Practice Notes
To end practice, some of the veterans including Kris Jenkins, Sione Pouha and Jason Taylor started some of the end-of-camp festivities by tying rookie cornerback Brian Jackson to a goalpost for some playful rookie hazing.
“I heard he was taking it a little personal,” Ryan said of Jackson’s reaction. “I’ve seen way worse than that. We all saw the Tim Tebow haircut, which would have been a disaster for most guys. Anyway, it’s meant to be a good thing, a fun deal, and it should be meant that way. I haven’t talked to Brian yet.”
Jamaal Westerman, Kenwin Cummings, Brad Smith and Matt Kroul were all given the morning practice off for being the remaining winners of the Iron Jet offseason award. In addition, safety Donovan Warren and linebacker Josh Mauga did not practice because of head injuries they sustained in practices.
While the defense ruled the morning, the offense did have a few highlight moments, two coming from passes from Mark Sanchez to WR Braylon Edwards. Sanchez pump-faked in the 7-on-7 drills, then hit Edwards, who beat Leonhard for a touchdown. Then in 11-on-11, the QB threw deep to Edwards, who came down with a magnificent grab against S Brodney Pool along the sideline.
To wrap up practice, kicker Nick Folk was very impressive, knocking down all five of his field goals — from 40, 42, 44, 51 and 56 yards.
P.M. Practice Notes
The Jets concluded the SUNY Cortland portion of training camp with a practice that was closed to the fans this afternoon, and the players seemed exuberant about finishing their stint in central New York State. Joking and laughter filled the air during stretching and continued through the end of practice as cornerback Brian Jackson attempted long distance throws of over 60 yards in efforts to hit the goalpost crossbar.
Matt Slauson, as an “Iron Jet” winner, received the afternoon off and Vladimir Ducasse started at LG as the team walked through their offense and defense. They will have “rookie night” activities tonight, then will bus or drive out of Cortland on Friday morning, then fly out in the afternoon for Charlotte, N.C., to face the Carolina Panthers on Saturday night.
Linebacker In, Punter Out
The Jets released punter T.J. Conley and added linebacker Boris Lee, a 2010 undrafted free agent out of Troy University that spent time with the San Diego Chargers earlier this summer.
Tags: Anthony Lynn, Boris Lee, joe McKnight, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, T.J. Conley, Tony Dungy
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