- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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Joe McKnight continued to struggle in the heat today. A half-hour into the two-hour morning workout, he was taking a knee in the middle of the field. Ten minutes later he was on all fours under the uprights as the Jets trainers applied wet towels to his head and back.
"He's fighting through it," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "It's funny, every time I look around he's got a wet towel around his neck and he's got [RB coach] Anthony [Lynn] barking all over him and then he's making one mistake after another -- and then you put the ball in his hand and he's pretty good. How 'bout just go right, Joe? He's fighting through it. Sometimes it takes a player a little longer to play like a Jet."
To his credit, McKnight made it though the first practice. He dropped four balls in the 7-on-7 practice, including a few that hit him on the numbers. When asked about a pretty awful rookie camp performance, Ryan recalled that second-year RB Shonn Greene didn't impress a lot of people last year but ended up being pretty good.
"I don't think we need to overreact in all this."
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Ryan said that QB Mark Sanchez was steadily improving after knee surgery.
"We're certainly not going to rush him all the way back, but he's doing everything," Ryan said. "He's itching to go; he can't stand it. He's throwing the ball some and he looks great. He's doing everything we're asking him to do. ... I'd love for him to do that last minicamp if at all possible."
When asked how the Jets were going to fare without Sanchez for many of the OTAs and minicamps, Ryan had this to say:
"Just gives opportunity to the other guys step up. Maybe we can figure out how to rank those other guys cause there'll be some good competition there."
Ryan said he like veteran QB Mark Brunell, but they can't sign him until July 22 unless another team signs one of the Jets' current free agent. "He's really a class act I've gone against him a bunch," Ryan said. "We were interested in him because I think he would've been a good mentor to our guys."
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Cory Reamer, a linebacker from Alabama, got a mention from Ryan. TEs Jeff Cumberland and Michael Owen had a nice catch or two in 11s.
And now heading out for the afternoon session.