Joe McKnight happy to get on the field, sad to switch positions

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Jets coach Rex Ryan found his own way of telling Joe McKnight that he’s going to be playing more cornerback than running back in the future.

Ryan entered offensive meetings this week and told McKnight that he’d been traded, presumably waiting a beat before letting McKnight know that he was being traded to the Jets defense and not to another team. Ryan explained Wednesday that McKnight’s work a corner on the scout team as a rookie showed enough promise that the team thinks he can be a strong addition to the secondary as the season unfolds. McKnight found it hard to focus on the positives of the move.

“I just took it as I’m not good enough to play running back,” McKnight said, via Conor Orr of the Newark Star-Ledger. “That’s how I took it.”

While Ryan accentuated the positive, it’s hard to miss that message in the move. While the desperate times caused by Darrelle Revis’ injury certainly call for desperate measure, teams don’t tend to drastically change a player’s portfolio because they think he’s doing a spectacular job at his original spot. There are exceptions, Troy Brown comes to mind, but it’s hard to find much argument with McKnight’s gut reaction to the news.

In addition to his scout team appearances on defense, McKnight played some corner in high school. He scoffed at questions wondering whether that scholastic experience would help him at all in his new endeavor, although he expressed confidence in his ability to do the job and a bit more of a positive attitude when it came to the potential upside of the move on McKnight’s future.

“At this point in time I’m just happy to just be on the field,” McKnight said. “I’m getting tired of just standing on the sideline.”

That’s not quite a new bike under the Christmas tree reaction, but McKnight seems to realize the writing was on the wall at running back for the Jets. Making a successful transition to defense is going to be the best way for McKnight to be on the field or the sideline, as opposed to his couch, in this and future NFL seasons.

16 responses to “Joe McKnight happy to get on the field, sad to switch positions

  1. McKnight, dont be disappointed….if you were doing anything w/ the running game i might side with you but powell is getting more and more of the carries, which means less for you.

    Go out there and show some skills and force the offense to get you ont he field….earn your way.

  2. “Im just happy to be on the field” translation: “its all about me, I dont care about my team”

    They will never win a Super Bowl with attitudes like this in the locker room. Its cancerous and spreads the same way.

  3. Please Rex, stick McKnight in as a starting corner when the Jets re-play Buffalo at the end of the season. I would enjoy seeing McKnight try to cover Stevie Johnson.

  4. As a Southern California fan I was shocked when I heard the news that Joe McKnight announced he would play for the Trojans on signing day…However, many years later I look back and see a player that had/has a lot of potential but his star power in his head is a lot bigger than what it is in real life. He didn’t amount to much at ‘SC and really was a complete disappointment and from watching Hard Knocks a lot of us watched first hand that he doesn’t have the maturity nor tenacity needed. Hopefully this will give him the edge he’s been lacking.

  5. This is your wake up call, son.

    You came into the league lazy and out of shape, afflicted with that peculiar disease that seems to effect many USC players- acting as though a successful NFL career was your birthright, not something you had to work hard at every day.

    You’re being given a second chance by a team that has no obligation to given the weak effort you’ve given them. And you’re probably only getting it because the franchise’s best player got hurt.

    Better make the most of it. I doubt you’ll get a third.

  6. Better make the most of it. I doubt you’ll get a third.

    Oh, he’ll get more chances. A lot of coaches and GMs take where a player went to college into account, as if the pedigree of the school is THE determinant of the quality of the player. “He went to USC/LSU/Alabama/Michigan/Ohio State/Oklahoma/Texas, so we know he can compete at the highest level…”

    I’m not familiar with McKnight, but obviously he has athletic talent. I wish him well with the transition.

  7. It’s ridiculous, because it’s not like green has ever been any good. 2 yards per carry? Sure.. That’s your feature back. I hate the jets. Ryan is trying to be like bb. Idiot.

  8. Strange that if he can’t make it as a running back, why wouldn’t the Jets just cut him and then if the need a cornerback, sign one of the available free agent cornerbacks with experience? I just think it’s weird that they’d rather keep McKnight and have him try to play cornerback, when he has virtually no experience there. It almost makes me wonder if there’s something else going on, or some other reason why they’re keeping McKnight on the roster. Hmm! I wonder what that other reason could be…

  9. He has value as a kick returner. He finished pretty high up in the rankings last year. He’s middle of the pack right now, but that’s because he hasn’t broken one yet. San Fran doesn’t defend kicks all that well. Could be windy and raining Sunday which would keep Akers from kicking all touchbacks, which would give McKnight a chance to take one to the house

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