I've been a strong backer of Joe McKnight and I still am, so was happy to see that the Star Ledger's Jenny Vrentas had a story about McKnight today:
"Yeah, I was frustrated," McKnight said after the Jets' first practice today. "Because I felt like I was behind with the rookie minicamp what happened there ... I really wanted to come out and prove myself. I felt frustrated, but I have to let it go and just focus on the future."
I never heard a whisper about his commitment or work ethic at USC, so I was surprised when he failed his conditioning test. However the messages I've seen proclaiming that drafting him and letting Leon go was a mistake are very aggravating. You can't hide the fact that McKnight has had a shaky start to his Jets career, and he knows he has to get things under control. Rex commented that McKnight gets too hyped up:
"He’s a young man I think is a little hyped up sometimes," Ryan said. "He did that first mini-camp also; he'd run the ball throw up, run the ball throw up. But if you look at him, he's an impressive kid now."
What I'm asking is that the Jets fanbase show a little patience with him. I've seen him a lot in college and this guy has as much talent (if not more) than Leon. Lets not forget that he is a 4th round draft pick as well and he doesn't need to be Leon in 2010. He needs to learn and he needs to be given time to develop within the NFL, and we are lucky enough that if we can keep our backs healthy he'll be able to do that.
He is already dealing with the Reggie Bush comparisons, so lets leave off the Leon ones. It was in the teams best interest to move on financially from Leon and his delirious agent. It's sometimes lost with fans which is more important. I think it's time the fans moved on, Leon was a good Jet but he was hardly Curtis Martin like in his franchise importance.
There is too much negativity surrounding him and his early troubles, and the cries of "It was a mistake" are quite frankly premature and ridiculous. I've always been confident and I still remain confident that McKnight will turn into one hell of a back when his time comes. It won't be 2010, and for the Jets right now....it doesn't need to be.