McKNIGHT TAKING THINGS IN STRIDE

James McKnight is back for his second season with the Dolphins, but he is minus a starting job thanks to the emergence of Chris Chambers. It's a situation that could cause problems when you're dealing with a veteran player.

But McKnight never made a fuss when Coach Dave Wannstedt announced at the start of training camp that Oronde Gadsden would start opposite Chambers, and he's not about to start now.

"I didn't really have to deal with issue because I don't think I got into the NFL just to be a starter," said McKnight. "I'm going to be there, I'm going to be on the field a lot, we're going to be in the three-wide-receiver look a lot. I'm going to be pushing Big O, I'm going to be pushing Chris to help those guys get better, so I just look at it as another opportunity to be a leader on the field and off the field because I'm still an NFL player."

The truth is McKnight might have to fight off Dedric Ward for the third wideout role because Ward should be a factor in the offense now that he has fully recovered from last year's foot fracture.

However it shakes out, the Dolphins figure to need McKnight's contributions at some point. And regardless of what happens, McKnight isn't the type of guy who would create problems over his role.

McKnight hasn't spent a lot of time during training camp worrying about a starting job.

"I don't care because once you start thinking about things like that, you start trying to do too much at practice and in the preseason games," he said. "I just need to go out there and make plays, get the job done. The eye in the sky don't lie. If you're doing things well out there, people are going to notice, coaches are going to notice. And that's all you can ask for."

Fairly or unfairly, what fans noticed about McKnight's first season with the Dolphins were a couple of costly drops, including one against the Jets that was picked off in the air and returned for a touchdown and another in the playoff loss to Baltimore.

What was forgotten was that McKnight tied for the team lead with 55 receptions, including a game-winner at Seattle.

"I realize that a lot of people that are focusing on that part of the game never played the game," McKnight said. "If you play wide receiver, you're going to drop a ball. You can't let little stuff like that take away from a good year that you had. I consider myself having a great year. Could have been an exceptional year. But I had a great year.

"Unless you know the game, unless you understand how to play the game, you're never really going to know what a guy's value is to the team. I consider how I helped my young boy, Chris, grow last year. I consider my year last year very, very, very successful because I had a big hand in everything that went on last year."


Dolphins Report Top Stories