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McKnight on His Quest for Consistency

Posted by Nick Gallo on August 19, 2010 – 2:08 pm

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.

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Posted in Nick Gallo | 20 Comments »

20 Responses to “McKnight on His Quest for Consistency”

  1. By IRA on Aug 19, 2010 | Reply

    Nick, I think thats the 3rd time they have cut Conley. Weatherford has had a good summer and earned the job. I am sure the players are happy camp is about to end and they can get on with their regular week of work. Dungy will have a different view of rex and the Jets after he visits and see how they are a class organization.
    Very happy Folk finished out camp strong.

  2. By Anthony on Aug 19, 2010 | Reply

    Any word on Revis? I like what I saw from the Jets 1st defense but it will help alot to had him to the roster.

  3. By Christopher on Aug 19, 2010 | Reply

    I respect tony dungy, but do we really need him to come to camp to police the language used? Do we really need his approval to do things the way we do them? I think there are bigger and better things tony dungy could be spending his time doing that may actually make a difference then trying to change language habits of grown men.

    I must say I was quite disappointed to see (or not see) VG do anything against the Giants, especially their 2nd and 3rd teams. Very disappointing.

  4. By GaryC on Aug 19, 2010 | Reply

    Sanchez needs to speak to schottenheimer about putting in some screen and draw plays for mcknight which made him very effective at southern cal.

  5. By Matt on Aug 19, 2010 | Reply

    Gary – I hope Shotty doesn’t need anyone to tell him that the screen game has been missing. McKnight, maybe but that should be LT’s job. It sounds to me like the Jets might be better off keeping Woodhead on the active roster over McKnight. Woodhead could be a player in the screen game for sure. It sounds like McKnight needs some seasoning.

  6. By BobbyD on Aug 19, 2010 | Reply

    I may have a solution to the Revis/Jets situation.
    Private, non-binding third-party arbitration. This way neither side would lose negotiating advantage and could possibly get closer to a deal.

  7. By IRA on Aug 19, 2010 | Reply

    They have at practice and even had him lined up wide. He needs work.

  8. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Aug 19, 2010 | Reply

    At last some significant news about the actual roster — Conley doesn’t make it again. Like I said on the other story, if Weatherford is going to hold, fake punts, and even back up Folk at placekicker, it’s hard to see how Conley or anyone else could ever take his job away. But along the lines of what Ira says, if I remember right that’s also the second time we’ve cut Conley after only the first exhib game. Good idea about the screens and draws for McKnight, GaryC, two plays, especially the draws, that Schotty doesn’t seem to like, he seems to prefer throwing to backs on longer routes out of the backfield, which is something LT is great on, TJ was weak on, and everyone else we have at RB is unproven on. (Okay, T-Rich has caught a pass out of the backfield once in a blue moon.) As for Dungy, Christopher, at least he’s come down off his high horse a bit. He’ll probably just shake hands with Rex for the cameras, tell some story about a great American who dropped the F-word now and again, and go back to being one of the best recent football coaches and one of the worst current football analysts.

  9. By IRA on Aug 20, 2010 | Reply

    Going way back to the spring and understanding why they let TJ go and signed LT. They needed to repalce Leon and LT was the answer. I said LT will have 40 catches or so this year. Which would help Sanchez cut down on his mistakes and make it more difficult for teams to defend them with the options he now has in the passing game. Well i read this morning [Daily News] and it seems the coaches did a study of the top 5 offenses over the past 6 years. Each had a RB that had 40 catches or more. Getting LT was a no brainer considering the uncertainity of Leon plus a contract due Leon. GO JETS!!!!!!

  10. By don k on Aug 20, 2010 | Reply

    Through this whole training camp and Hard Knocks, Brodney Poole seems to be MIA.Nothing good nothing bad, almost seems like he’s been a non factor. Any word on his progress? The only thing I heard was it seemed he was having a hard time picking up the system

  11. By IRA on Aug 20, 2010 | Reply

    Agree i think Pool has had a quiet camp except for last Saturday when he had 2 picks. I will give him some slack for learning a new sytem. I am not worried i think he will be just fine. If not Smith will see more action.

  12. By Kevin Robbins on Aug 20, 2010 | Reply

    Does it seem like Matt Kroul is a lock to make the team? The coachng staff seems impressed with his workouts. He wasn’t a guy I felt was a lock to make the team at the beginning of training camp, but is that the case now?

  13. By BeenWaiting42Years on Aug 20, 2010 | Reply

    In addition to the well documented media reports on McKnight I was rather alarmed by the coaching concerns clearly vocalized by Rex, Lynn and Schotty in the most recent Hard Knocks episode. While McKnight may have all the physical tools, it seems like this kid just doesn’t have the head, or the heart to play at this level. Ya think maybe Pete Carrol knew something which is why he passed on McKnight in the draft… Problem here is Rex always likes to be right, and by default it seems like both Vern and McKnight have immunity, and are almost guaranteed roster spots. Why was Woodhead never given an opportunity to run the ball during the Giants game or Chauncey for that matter? I was up at camp in Cortland for 3 days and Woodhead was giving Pettine and the defense fits during training camp on running plays, not to mention that he had two special teams tackles on kick coverage and led the Jets with 5 catches during the Giants game. On that 16 yard 3rd down conversion reception,he beat the linebacker badly, and looked an awful lot like Welker coming across the middle. Is Rex afraid Woodhead will outplay McKnight on TV for all to see thus giving him rightful claim of the #3 back spot? You can’t argue that the kid is smart, his game has improved, and that he has done everything he could to earn a place on this roster … If Woodhead is not the answer then lets give Chauncey more snaps, or just trade for another solid back already, and stop wasting our time on McKnight. It will be interesting to see how things go against the Panthers. I’m sure McKnight will get the majority of snaps again and if he does not show anything special, then I say we give Woodhead and Chauncey more opportunity to win the job…

  14. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Aug 20, 2010 | Reply

    BeenWaiting, try waiting a little longer. The early reviews for two of USC’s most celebrated RBs ever, Mike Garrett and O.J. Simpson, weren’t so great, either. In fact, I remember people talking about Simpson like you are about McKnight throughout his entire first season. Just Say No to ADD Football Fan Foolishness!

  15. By GaryC on Aug 20, 2010 | Reply

    thanks to my fellow posters Ira and Matt keeping up on the screen and draws situation with Mcknight,but if he needs more seasoning than I believe the jets hierarchy will be a little disappointed him being a draft pick.

  16. By Ray on Aug 20, 2010 | Reply

    Bobby D there are several reasons the arbitration idea won’t work. First, he’s under contract already so there is nothing to arbitrate. Second I believe there are factors with the CBA that would have to be cleared. And most importantly, arbitration, while it sounds like a good vehicle to fans, is a very sticky subject with players and management. In arbitration, each side goes in and makes there case of what they think the player should get. So it often turns much uglier than what is going on now. The Jets would essentially be going before the arbitrator and having to basically tear Revis down to make their case. Bitter feelings often are the result of an arbitration hearing.

  17. By Ed on Aug 20, 2010 | Reply

    Was it just me or was Cromartie just standing around while his teammates were trying to make a tackle? It appeared to me he was just standing around hoping to recover a fumble & take off with it. It would have been nice if he got his hands dirty helping the other Jets tackle this guy. I don’t like what I see, maybe that is why the Chargers traded him so cheap.

  18. By Craig J on Aug 20, 2010 | Reply

    WOW…Nick Folk is looking like George Blanda all of the sudden. Keep it up Nick!We will desperately need him a few times in those crucial nail bighting games this season! Hopefully Dallas will be wishing they kept him and worked with him as da Jets did.

  19. By Row on Aug 21, 2010 | Reply

    This is a very skewed article. Mcknight is a joke. We could have a real 4th rounder, but we picked a prima donna from USC who refuses to be in game shape regardless of the fact that he is making millions. He has shown nothing in preseason. Woodhead is 3 times the back he is. I’m ready for 53 man day, because some of these guys need to be cut!

  20. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Aug 21, 2010 | Reply

    A joke is a guy who judges a great college player on a few plays in the first pre-season game, Row. Woodhead is about thirty pounds less the player McKnight is and he played in a division behind him in college. So hold your horses, you’re already looking foolish for the way the better Sanchez gets, the worse you say he is.

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