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Joe McKnight Wants to Be Backfield's Top Dog

Nick Laham

Mark Cannizzaro caught up with Jets running back Joe McKnight who has big hopes for this year.

Of the four, McKnight, in his fourth season with the Jets, is most vocal about his burning desire to be the man.

“Words can’t even describe how badly I want to be that guy,’’ McKnight told The Post during a break in offseason workouts last week at the team’s Florham Park, N.J., training facility. “I’ve got an edge — a fire to me ... so I can show everybody that I can play.

“When I’m out there practicing it’s like I’m [ticked] off. I’ve got to play the game [ticked] off. That gives me the edge and keeps me on top of my game.’’

McKnight will probably benefit from having an offensive coordinator in Marty Mornhinweg who likes to use his backs as receivers, a McKnight strong point. He might have a tough time seeing a bulk of the carries, though. Durability and fumbling issues have plagued his young career. The Jets also have never had much trust in him for whatever reason. Even though Chris Ivory and Mike Goodson were moderately priced acquisitions, the fact the Jets went out to get them has to be viewed as an indication the team does not think much of McKnight's ability as a runner. They might not be making star money, but the Jets probably would not be paying them those amounts unless they were going to be staples of the offense.

McKnight is probably going to compete with Bilal Powell for the third running back spot. Joe's spot on the roster seems safer than Powell's. If Powell beats out McKnight for the number three role, the Jets could conceivably keep McKnight as a fourth back because he still provides value in the return game. If McKnight beats out Powell, there is on reason to keep Bilal as a fourth back.