The life-without-Darrelle Revis contingency plans are in full swing this week. And while Rex Ryan is mum on the strategy, he did say that the Jets will try and deploy some players who aren't cornerbacks to learn the position.
The most notable name is Joe McKnight, who has played the position before and has practiced there this season. Ryan said McKnight will maintain a role on offense -- where he has been seldom-used this season -- but will be in defensive meetings and practice at cornerback.
"We'll do that this week with Joe McKnight," Ryan said. "He'll have a role on offense, but we're also teaching him how to play corner in almost, not a full-time capacity but he's going to be there a ton -- in the meetings and everything else."
Ryan said he'll lean on secondary coaches Dennis Thurman and Jim O'Neil to bring McKnight along in the process.
"He's a guy we saw on scout team as a rookie that we know had the necessary skills," Ryan said. "He's got the speed, the size, the athleticism, the ball skills -- everything you look for in a corner. So, I don't think there's any reason not to think Joe McKnight can be a corner, it's just going to take time."
Running back Joe McKnight will have an increased role as a cornerback moving forward. The Daily News reported two weeks ago that McKnight practiced a cornerback and met with defensive coaches in the run-up to the Steelers game in Week 2 – he didn’t get any reps at corner in the game – with Darrelle Revis out with a concussion.
On Wednesday, Rex Ryan admitted that McKnight’s role on defense will grow with Revis out for the season with an ACL tear.
“We’ll do that this week with Joe McKnight,” Ryan said. “He’ll have a role on offense, but we’re also teaching him how to play corner…. Not quite a full-time capacity, but he’s going to be over there a ton in the meetings and everything else.”
McKnight played defensive back in high school before USC’s Pete Carroll’s made him a full-time running back. McKnight was used as a blitzing defensive back on one play against the Ravens in Week 4 last season.
“He’s a guy that we saw on scout team when he was a rookie,” Ryan said. “He has the necessary skills to be able to play corner. He’s got the speed, the size, the athleticism, the ball skills. Everything you look for in a corner. So, I don’t think there’s any reason not to think that Joe McKnight couldn’t be a corner.”
“It’s just going to take time, obviously,” Ryan added. “But I think with (defensive backs coach) Dennis Thurman and (assistant defensive backs coach) Jimmy O’Neil over there, I think we got great teachers of the game. It’ll be interesting. I would not bet against Joe McKnight becoming a good corner.”
McKnight has played in only 3.4 percent of the offensive snaps through three weeks. (Seven out of a possible 204 offensive snaps).