BY NICK ST. DENIS
Joe McKnight entered training camp as the likely candidate to take over LaDainian Tomlinson's duties as the Jets' third-down back and No. 2 to Shonn Greene.
But Bilal Powell could finish camp in that spot.
"I'm really happy with the way Shonn Greene and Powell in particular are running the football," Jets coach Rex Ryan told reporters Thursday. "... I feel great about Shonn like I always do, but Powell has really been impressive. He did a great job picking up the blitz as well."
Ryan did say McKnight has "had his moments," but he made it a point to note all the things Powell has done well, most of which fit into the role the Jets are looking to fill behind Greene.
Powell was selected by the Jets in the fourth round of the 2011 draft. 1,405 of his 2,338 collegiate career rushing yards came in his final season at Louisville. Eleven of Powell's 19 rushing touchdowns during his college career were also in his final season, and all three of his receiving touchdowns came that year, as well.
"When you look at his background... in college it took him a couple years to get going, and then he had a monster year," Ryan said. "Hopefully he's ready to have that kind of season for us this year."
McKnight hasn't done a whole lot at running back in two seasons with the Jets, mostly due to the presence of Tomlinson. Powell's presence could potentially continue that trend. Fortunately for McKnight, he's very valuable in the kick return game.
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