Jets get peek at one they missed
The Jets are going to get an up-close view this weekend of the One Who Got Away.
But if Gang Green still is disappointed that defensive end Bruce Irvin was snapped up by the Seahawks one spot ahead of them last April, the consolation prize of Quinton Coples has done a good job of easing the pain.Irvin enters Sunday’s matchup with the Jets in Seattle as one of the top rookie pass rushers in the NFL, already notching five sacks despite not starting any of the Seahawks’ first nine games, but Coples is no slouch.The North Carolina product is tied for the team lead with two sacks and ranks second on the Jets with 13 quarterback hits, and Coples vowed yesterday that his best is yet to come.“It’s been a work in progress, but I’m getting better,” Coples said as the 3-5 Jets prepared to visit Seattle’s famously thunderous CenturyLink Field to take on the 5-4 Seahawks. “Things are going well, and I feel like I’m turning into the player they expected me to be.”Both teams might have been better off taking Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones, who went five spots after Coples and is among the NFL leaders with six sacks for the Patriots, but neither the Seahawks nor Jets appear to have any regrets about their choices.
Seattle coach Pete Carroll raved about Irvin yesterday, and the Jets appear to be equally upbeat about Coples, despite a brief preseason stint in coach Rex Ryan’s doghouse for complaining about being winded during a game.Coples didn’t get much playing time early in the season as a result, but he is starting to occupy a major role in the defense lately and even started two games last month due to injury. “I’m understanding the defenses better, and things are working for me,” Coples said.The predraft knock on Coples was that he took too many plays off at North Carolina and didn’t go all out. He admitted yesterday that it was a fair criticism, but only because Coples was getting extra attention. “If you know anything about football, you could see I was getting double-teamed and triple-teamed,” he said. “They won’t let you take plays off here.”Ryan doesn’t question Coples’ desire or effort, and Coples said he expects even more success in the second half of the season because he is getting more comfortable with the defensive playbook.That makes sense, because the differences for him are extreme. Coples played in a 4-3 defensive scheme in college that almost entirely was a single-gap (attacking) system for the tackles.
The Jets primarily use a 3-4 that involves two-gap (read and react) responsibilities and stunts for the interior linemen. Ryan and his staff also add plays to the defense constantly and reconfigure each week based on the opponent.Coples said he has benefited from frequent one-on-one tutoring away from the field from linemates Mike DeVito, Sione Pouha and Muhammad Wilkerson, and the rookie is hoping to do an even better job of proving his doubters wrong over a minimum of the next eight weeks. “As long as I go out there and make plays...what those people say is going to be forgotten,” he said.