Matt Cavanaugh hoping to make departed Greg Knapp proud in role with Jets

Matt Cavanaugh never should have been in the position he currently finds himself in with the New York Jets. But the tragic passing of Jets passing game specialist Greg Knapp in July in a bicycle accident has thrust Cavanaugh into taking over the role from his departed friend.

“It was just a tragedy,” Cavanaugh said, via Rich Cimini of “I’m not here to replace him. I don’t think I can replace him, but I promise I’ll try to represent him well. I’ll work hard, do the best I can and, hopefully, make him proud.”

Knapp was struck by a vehicle while riding his bike in California prior to the start of training camp. Knapp would succumb to his injuries five days after the accident. Knapp and Cavanaugh had struck up a close friendship when the two worked together with the San Francisco 49ers in 1996.

Knapp was brought in by new Jets head coach Robert Saleh to help work with the team’s quarterback group. Now Cavanaugh is set to man the role after Knapp’s untimely death. Saleh brought Cavanaugh in for a one-week trial run before giving him the gig full-time.

“It was such a close relationship,” Cavanaugh said of his bond with Knapp. “I was so stunned when the accident happened. I didn’t imagine this [job] was a possibility. I wasn’t even thinking about it.

“I know the organization went through weeks and weeks of trying to deal with it. When I first talked to coach Saleh, he said, ‘We brought him in for a reason. We’re devastated losing him, but we still need that void filled and you have the experience we may be looking for, so why don’t you spend a week with us?’”