Shortly after Saturday’s game against Jacksonville, the Jets announced that second year linebacker, Quinton Coples, will miss the remainder of the pre-season. Due to a hairline ankle fracture, Coples is out indefinitely.
“We don’t really have a timetable on the injury,” Rex Ryan told the media during his press conference on Monday. “It’s really disappointing because the young man was really playing well for us. I think we all saw that. But hopefully he’ll be back sooner than later.”
The injury happened during the second quarter of Saturday’s game when the linebacker attempted to sack Jaguars’ quarterback Chad Henne. Coples is expected to undergo a medical procedure on Tuesday, and the unofficial word is that the Jets expect him to be back on the field in three-to-four weeks. The second year player is currently making the shift from a 4-3 defensive end to a 3-4 hybrid defensive end/linebacker. Although it’s been a steep learning curve, Coples’ athletic ability has made for a smooth transition. If he misses a significant amount of time it will be a huge blow for the Jets’ defense.
In the meantime, veteran linebacker Garrett McIntrye will take Coples’ place in the line-up. Ryan told the media that McIntyre posses a phenomenal work ethic and has truly earned the right to start in Coples’ place.
“Garrett’s just a guy who’s smart, knows the defense, we can plug him in a lot of different spots and he does a tremendous job,” Rex Ryan said. “I think last year he had [3.5] sacks, but I’m expecting big things from him this year.”
McIntyre, a journeyman, played in both the Arena Football League and CFL before he signed with the Jets in 2011 – he had 35 tackles and 3.5 sacks in 2012.
Ryan also said that Antwan Barnes would rotate in during pass rush situations. Barnes played for Ryan in Baltimore when he was the Ravens defensive coordinator. The pair were reunited in off-season when the Jets signed Barnes during free agency. The veteran linebacker previously played for the San Diego Chargers, where he amassed 18.5 sacks during 3 seasons; including a career high of 11 sacks in 2011. Ryan spoke glowingly of Barnes during his Monday press conference saying that the veteran is “much more mature” than when they were last together in Baltimore, and that he is “willing to do anything for this team.”
Ryan is hoping that a combination of McIntyre and Barnes will help fill the void left by Coples until he returns, at which point Coples will slot straight back into the line-up, and hopefully continue exactly where he left off — pressuring the quarterback.