New York Jets: Quinton Coples

Jets camp report: Reporting day

July, 23, 2014
Jul 23
CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A few hot topics from Wednesday at the New York Jets' training camp:

You can't have too many pass rushers: The Jets made a smart move, signing the well-traveled Jason Babin to a two-year contract -- assuming the money isn't ridiculous. Obviously, the 34-year-old Babin is on the downside of his career, but he led the Jacksonville Jaguars in two important categories last season -- sacks (7.5) and snaps among the defensive linemen (772). One of the Jets' goals this summer was to identify another edge rusher to add to Calvin Pace, Quinton Coples, etc. If healthy, Antwan Barnes would be that guy, but he's not close to returning from last year's knee surgery. Rex Ryan, explaining the importance of pass-rushing depth, mentioned two recent Super Bowl champions, the Seattle Seahawks and New York Giants. Yep, it's a copycat league. That the Jaguars cut Babin three months after giving him a $500,000 signing bonus is a bit curious, but that's hardly a concern for the Jets.

CJ2K is back: The most important development of the day, though not surprising, was Chris Johnson's proclamation that he's been cleared by Dr. James Andrews to participate in training camp. He spent the last month training in Orlando and showed up Wednesday in terrific shape, "flying" in the conditioning run, according to Ryan. I've said this before, and I'll say it again: Of all the new additions on offense, Johnson is the one with the potential to make the greatest impact. When healthy, he's one of the fastest running backs in the league, and the Jets need speed in the backfield.

Where have you gone, Joe McKnight? Apparently, there are no McKnights on this season's roster. You might recall that McKnight started to play his way off the team last summer by flunking the mandatory conditioning run. This year, no one failed the test, according to Ryan. That, he said, never happened before in his head-coaching tenure. Presumably, this means the Jets reported to camp in tip-top shape. Barnes and guard Willie Colon (knee) passed the conditioning test, yet they still landed on the physically-unable-to-perform list. Don't worry about Colon; he's not that far away from being activated. Barnes? That could take some time.

The anti-Revis: Not that there was any doubt, but defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson did, in fact, report to camp, backing up previous statements in which he vowed not to stage a contract holdout. He said he never considered a holdout for a second, claiming he wouldn't be acting like a team leader if he pulled a no-show. Truth be told, he doesn't have much leverage to get a new contract, considering he's signed through 2015 and the daily fine would've been $30,000. But give him credit for taking the high road, trying to be a team player -- something Darrelle Revis never did in the past. Now we'll see if Wilkerson's anti-Revis approach has any sway with the powers-that-be.
Rex Ryan showed his new boss last season that, even when speaking softly, he still carried a big enough stick to squeeze eight wins out of a team with modest talent. The New York Jets' coach received a well-deserved contract extension.

Now, with the Jets reporting to training camp Wednesday in Cortland, New York, for Year 2 of the Ryan-John Idzik era, we start to learn a lot more about the other half of the leadership tandem, the quiet man who prefers to stay out of the spotlight.

This is Idzik's time.

[+] EnlargeMilliner
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesDee Milliner is one of John Idzik's draft picks that needs to produce for the Jets.
It's impossible to evaluate a general manager after one season, especially in a rebuilding situation, but the landscape changes after two drafts and two rounds of free agency. In the NFL, that’s enough time to get a team from the 6-10 mess that Idzik inherited into the playoffs.

Idzik's predecessors, Terry Bradway in 2001 and Mike Tannenbaum in 2006, reached the postseason in their first seasons as GMs. Go back further, and you will remember that Bill Parcells made it to the AFC Championship Game in his second year as the GM/coach.

Even though Idzik is operating on a long-term plan, evidenced by his emphasis on the draft and his deliberate approach in free agency, an 0-for-2 start wouldn't look good on his résumé. He shouldn't be on the New York Mets' Sandy Alderson timeline, meaning he has to move faster than a glacier. It's just the way of the NFL.

Idzik has been around long enough to put his stamp on the team. He signed, re-signed and drafted most of the projected starters. In fact, only seven starters can be considered true holdovers from the previous administration: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Muhammad Wilkerson, David Harris, Damon Harrison, Quinton Coples and Demario Davis.

It's easy to notice they're the best guys on the team, Tannenbaum guys. Idzik needs to get some of his guys on that list. He already has Sheldon Richardson. By the end of the season, the list of top homegrowns should also include Geno Smith, Dee Milliner and Calvin Pryor. If Smith and Milliner are missing, the Jets will miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season, which won’t bode well for Ryan's job security.

Idzik has the Jets pointed in the right direction, and the strides they made last season can't be dismissed. But let's be honest: They overachieved. They were one of the softest 8-8 teams in history, and you can look it up. Their point differential was minus-97, the largest since the 1970 merger for any team with at least eight wins.

The talent base should be improved this season, especially with the additions of Eric Decker and Chris Johnson. Decker was Idzik's one big splurge in free agency, his one Tannenbaum-like move. Johnson and Michael Vick will be one-and-done players, worthwhile Band-Aids who won't ruin the master plan if they fizzle. The offseason proved, once again, that Idzik won't deviate from his script no matter how much salary-cap room he has at his disposal. For the record, there's about $22 million as of today.

Idzik is doing it the right way, avoiding the temptation of the quick fix. That will pay off in the long run, but there will be problems along the way. For instance: Failing to sign a top cornerback in free agency was a mistake that could be exposed early in the season, when they face several elite quarterbacks. The cornerback issue will be exacerbated if Milliner fails to develop as hoped.

The Jets believe Milliner, drafted ninth overall, will be a special player, basing much of their opinion on his strong finish. The same theory can be applied to the quarterback situation with Smith. They're placing a lot of weight on those last four games, and that can be dangerous when you consider the competition. They beat three also-rans, three teams with mediocre (at best) quarterbacks: the Oakland Raiders, Cleveland Browns and Miami Dolphins.

Now, after seven months of positive mojo, the Jets can prove it wasn't a mirage. If Idzik's investments mirror the stock market, they'll be a playoff team. If it goes the other way, he'll hear the criticism, good and loud. The honeymoon is over. This is Idzik's time.

Twitter mailbag: Was Coples trade bait?

June, 7, 2014
Jun 7

You haven't heard too much about Antwan Barnes since he wrecked his knee last October in Atlanta, but his name came up Wednesday in Rex Ryan's news conference -- and not in a positive way.

Ryan provided an ominous prognosis, saying the recovery from major surgery has been "slow" and that Barnes has encountered "some different issues." Ryan said Barnes will miss the remainder of the offseason (OTA practices and the minicamp), adding that he's hopeful, but not certain the veteran outside linebacker will be ready for the start of training camp on July 23.

When a coach acknowledges that much publicly, it usually means the player's situation is worse than he's letting on. If that's the case here, it's unfortunate for Barnes and the Jets, because he was an underrated player last season, the closest thing they had to a true speed rusher on the edge.

In five games, Barnes -- used primarily as a third-down rusher -- played a total of 145 defensive snaps. Despite the small body of work, he produced 16 quarterback hits (according to the team stats) and two sacks. His speed provided a nice change-of-pace to power rushers such as Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson.

Third down is an area that must improve. The Jets recorded sacks on 4.6 percent of third-down dropbacks, the only team in the league under 6.5 percent, according to ESPN Stats & Information. And that was with a career year by Calvin Pace. What are the chances of notching another 10-sack season at the age of 34?

If Barnes isn't 100 percent by the regular season, the Jets' depth at outside linebacker will be suspect. Remember, they didn't address the position in the draft until the later rounds, when they picked IK Enemkpali (a converted defensive end) and Trevor Reilly in the sixth and seventh rounds, respectively. The returning backups are Garrett McIntyre and Jermaine Cunningham, a former Patriot who has worked with the starting nickel unit in OTAs.

Clearly, the Jets need more production out of Quinton Coples and another good year out of Pace. But, again, we're talking about players that rely on more power than speed. They'll lose something if Barnes isn't Barnes. If his struggles continue, his roster spot could be in jeopardy. He's due to make $1.2 million (cap charge: $1.5 million), and they could save $900,000 by releasing him.

Five players to watch in OTA's

May, 28, 2014
May 28
Players not named Geno Smith with the most on the line in the New York Jets' OTA's, which continue Wednesday (open to the media):

1. Stephen Hill, wide receiver: If his balky knee cooperates, Hill needs to reinvent himself this spring and summer, validating the first-round grade he received from the Jets as a talented but unpolished wideout who came out of Georgia Tech in 2012. If all goes well, he could start opposite Eric Decker. If he remains an enigma, he could jeopardize his roster spot.

2. Jacoby Ford, wide receiver: Overshadowed by Decker and the three rookies at receiver, Ford has quietly impressed the coaching staff. People forget he was an ascending player for the Oakland Raiders in 2010 -- until injuries hit. If healthy, Ford could be a factor at receiver, not to mention a scary kickoff returner -- or just a tease.

3. Kyle Wilson, cornerback: After four years, the Jets know what the former first-round pick can do, but it'll be interesting to see if they can find anyone to do it better. They imported competition in the slot. If a newcomer jumps out (perhaps Johnny Patrick or rookie Dexter McDougle), Wilson -- always a notch below expectations -- could be expendable in the preseason.

4. Zach Sudfeld, tight end: A late arrival last season after being dropped by the New England Patriots, Sudfeld flashed potential as a receiver in limited action. The coaches like his upside, but they still drafted Jace Amaro in the second round. It's time to turn upside into production.

5. Quinton Coples, outside linebacker: These next few weeks aren't make or break for the former first-round pick, but Coples can establish a positive tone for the season by making big strides. This is his third season, and he acknowledged recently it's time to be more productive and assertive. We already know how Joe Klecko feels about him.
Despite an obvious tight end need, the New York Jets have expressed little interest in North Carolina's Eric Ebron, the consensus top tight end in the draft. Ebron said Wednesday he hasn't spoken to anyone in the Jets' organization other than linebacker Quinton Coples, a former college teammate.

Could it be a smokescreen? It's possible, but it would be an all-timer.

"As far as I know, they like me," Ebron said at a league-sponsored event in lower Manhattan. "That's every team. Every team likes me as an athlete."

It was previously reported that Ebron visited the Jets, but he was evasive and wouldn't confirm that. Being unnecessarily coy, he said only that he visited "New York" -- as he tweeted a few weeks ago, which fueled the speculation. If it's true that he's only had contact with Coples, it appears that his visit never took place -- unless, of course, Coples is running the draft.

Could it be that he visited the New York Giants? I'm not sure about that, but I can tell you the Giants probably won't take Ebron with the 12th pick. Chances are, he won't make it to the Jets at 18.

One thing about Ebron: He's not lacking for confidence. He's a self-proclaimed Vernon Davis wannabe, believing he can make the same impact as the San Francisco 49ers' star tight end.

"I watch his highlights, I watch his film, I watch everything Vernon Davis does and I mold it into Eric Ebron," he said.

Ebron described himself as a fun-loving person off the field. On the field, "I'm a beast, I'm an animal. It's like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde."

Jets draft preview: Linebacker

May, 6, 2014
May 6
This is the eighth installment in a position-by-position analysis of the New York Jets as they prepare for the draft:

Position: Linebacker

Current personnel: David Harris (signed through 2014), Demario Davis (2015), Quinton Coples (2015), Calvin Pace (2015), Antwan Barnes (2015), Nick Bellore (2014), Garrett McIntyre (2014), Jermaine Cunningham (2014), Tim Fugger (2016), Troy Davis (2015).

Projected starters: Harris (MLB), Demario Davis (WLB), Coples (Rush linebacker), Pace (SAM linebacker).

Newcomers: None.

Departures: None.

Top salary-cap charge: Harris, $7.0 million.

Scouting report: There are hidden needs at both inside and outside linebacker. The return of Pace, who signed a two-year, $5 million contract after recording a career-high 10 sacks, is a positive step. But it doesn't change the fact that the Jets are a middle-of-the-road pass-rushing team. They recorded sacks on only 4.6 percent of third-down dropbacks, lowest in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Their conventional rush was underwhelming. In fact, only the Houston Texans (two) intercepted fewer passes than the Jets (six)when using four or fewer pass rushers. They need a big season out of Coples and they need Barnes (ACL surgery) to return to his pre-injury form, which may be asking a bit much. The depth at inside linebacker is sketchy, with no proven players behind Harris and Demario Davis. Harris is heading into a contract year, so they have to prepare for the possibility of losing him next year.

Last LB drafted: Demario Davis was taken in the third round of the 2012 draft. Coples, a first-round pick that year, was originally selected as a lineman.

Potential targets: Look for them to draft at least one inside linebacker; whether they select an outside linebacker will depend on value. The pool of edge rushers isn't deep. There's a considerable dropoff after Khalil Mack (Buffalo), who will be long gone by the 18th pick. Anthony Barr (UCLA) could last, but it would be a surprise if they go in that direction. Barr, with only two years experience on defense, is talented, but raw. One name to watch in Round 2 is Demarcus Lawrence (Boise State), a hybrid player who visited the Jets. At 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, he has the right dimensions to make the conversion to outside linebacker. He recorded 20 sacks over the last two seasons, mostly as a down lineman. Jeremiah Attaochu (Georgia Tech) and Kyle Van Noy (Brigham Young) are players of the same ilk. Undersized Kevin Pierre-Louis (Boston College), who also visited, is a late-round possibility. So is tweener Larry Webster (Bloomsburg), the son of former NFL defensive lineman Larry Webster. At 6-5, 252 pounds, he ran a 4.58 40 at the combine. The only defensive lineman with a faster time was Jadeveon Clowney.

Need rating (scale of 1 to 10): 7.

Jets draft preview: Defensive line

May, 5, 2014
May 5
This is the seventh installment in a position-by-position analysis of the New York Jets as they prepare for the draft:

Position: Defensive line

Current personnel: Muhammad Wilkerson (signed through 2015), Sheldon Richardson (2016), Damon Harrison (2014), Kenrick Ellis (2014), Leger Douzable (2014), Tevita Finau (2016), T.J. Barnes (2016).

Projected starters: Wilkerson, Richardson, Harrison.

Newcomers: None.

Departures: None.

Top salary-cap charge: Richardson, $2.3 million.

Scouting report: The gang is together again, which is a good thing. No doubt, the defensive line is the strength of the team, which is what happens when you pick a first-round lineman in each of the last three drafts -- Wilkerson, Quinton Coples (now a linebacker) and Richardson. This group has a chance to be special for many years, as long as injuries, money and ego don't get in the way. It's already a top run-stopping line, as the Jets allowed a league-best 3.35 yards per attempt. Because it's a base 3-4, the Jets don't rely on the linemen to spearhead the pass rush, but there's still room for improvement, especially from Richardson (3.5 sacks), who has the skill set and tenacity to be a double-digit sacker. Wilkerson's production faded toward the end of the season, probably because he was gassed. He played 94 percent of the defensive snaps (988 of 1,048). The coaches must do a better job of rotating and using the depth.

Last DL drafted: Richardson was chosen 13th overall last season, with a pick acquired in the Darrelle Revis trade.

Potential targets: Rex Ryan joked that he and John Idzik will get run out of town if they pick another defensive lineman in the first round. Rest assured, that won't happen, but they could be looking that way late in the draft. Backups Ellis and Douzable will be unrestricted free agents, Harrison a restricted free agent, meaning long-term depth is an issue. They haven't brought any big-name linemen into town for visits, which is telling. They have expressed interest in undersized defensive end Michael Sam (Missouri), who projects as an outside linebacker or situational pass-rusher in the Jets' scheme. Sam, who could be the first openly gay player on an NFL team, will be a huge story wherever he lands -- especially in New York. A late-round possibility is Beau Allen (Wisconsin), in whom the Jets have showed interest.

Need rating (scale of 1 to 10): 2.
Four more days until the New York Jets are on the clock ...

1. The target list: It's impossible to predict the Jets' pick at No. 18 because so many things could happen in front of them, but I'm going to narrow the options and rank them based on interviews with scouts and talent evaluators. This is my ranking based on what I think the Jets should do, weighing their needs and the best players likely to be available:

a. Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State: Coach Rex Ryan needs a man-to-man corner, and he's the best in the draft.

b. Kyle Fuller, CB, Virginia Tech: A football player. Not the flashiest, but he can play Ryan's scheme.

c. Justin Gilbert, CB, Oklahoma State: Picture a young Antonio Cromartie -- tremendous talent, but he's a finesse player.

d. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, LSU: A fast, all-around receiver with return ability. Strong character.

e. Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State: Speed is the offseason theme on offense, and Cooks is a blur.

f. Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina: Has a high ceiling, but he doesn't block and there are questions about his attitude.

g. Marqise Lee, WR, USC: Coming off a mediocre year and lacks that extra gear.

[+] EnlargeGeno Smith
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesDespite a shaky rookie year, the Jets have been quick to praise QB Geno Smith this offseason.
2. Double talk: The Jets are engaging in a ridiculous game of semantics with regard to the quarterback position. They refuse to say Geno Smith is the starter, but they talk about him as if he's the starter. They say Michael Vick is here to "push" Smith, adding they don't want to do anything to impede his progress. Sure sounds like a starter to me, except they're afraid to use the "S" word because it's not allowed in Idzik World. Ironically, the only person who uses it is Vick, who reiterated Saturday in an interview with what he said on the day he signed in March: Smith is the starter. This may sound like a small thing, but it sends a mixed message, blurring the lines in a quarterback competition (are we allowed to call it that?) that could turn into a controversy.

3. Ulterior motives: The Jets have hosted at least three quarterbacks on pre-draft visits -- Jimmy Garoppolo, Tom Savage and Logan Thomas -- fueling speculation they could be in the market. Yes, they could be, but there's another reason for the interest: Gathering information for future use. Like every team, the Jets keep a dossier on each prospect. Some day, they may have to face Garappolo in a game, at which time they can refer to their notes on him. The New England Patriots are known for this practice.

"All those reports and the work that's done going into the draft, we look at that as the start of his library, and you will definitely tap into that as he progresses through his pro career," GM John Idzik said.

4. The Dirty Dozen: If the Jets wind up picking 12 players, it'll be their largest draft class since 1998 -- another 12-pick year. Quantity doesn't always ensure quality, as that '98 draft proved. Only one of the 12 players ended up starting in the NFL -- OT Jason Fabini (fourth round). The Jets were hurt by not having a first-round pick (sent to the Patriots as part of the Bill Parcells compensation package), but it still ranks as one of the worst drafts in team history. And there were a lot of smart people in the draft room -- Parcells, personnel director Dick Haley and three future GMs, Mike Tannenbaum, Scott Pioli and Trent Baalke. Like people always say, the draft is a crapshoot. The Jets still reached the AFC Championship Game, in large part, because they assembled one of the best free-agent classes in history -- Curtis Martin, Vinny Testaverde, Kevin Mawae and Bryan Cox.

5. Gang of New Yorkers: New York isn't known as a football hotbed, but there are four intriguing defensive-line prospects from the area. The top guy is Staten Island's Dominique Easley (Florida), a first-round talent coming off his second ACL surgery. He held a late pro day and impressed scouts to the point where he could sneak into the second or third round. Other locals are Flushing's Jay Bromley (Syracuse), the Bronx's Caraun Reid (Princeton) and Nyack's Terrence Fede (Marist).

6. The truth hurts: Former Jets great Joe Klecko was on the money with his assessment of OLB Quinton Coples, whom he said "looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane." Coples has tested the patience of the coaches from the day he arrived, giving inconsistent effort. The talent is obvious, which explains the frustration level in the organization. He finished last season on an upswing (3.5 sacks in the last five games), so maybe he turned a corner. As for Klecko's comments about Muhammad Wilkerson, suggesting he doesn't give maximum effort on every play, I haven't heard anyone around the team question his motor.

7. Goodson soap opera: Coming off an ACL injury, and facing charges for gun possession, Mike Goodson's future with the team is murky. Remember, he still faces the possibility of another suspension; this time it would be for violating the league's personal-conduct policy. Idzik said they've approached this offseason with the idea that Goodson will be on the team. "We assume that Mike is a Jet," Idzik said. "We've always made that assumption." He has another court date, May 19. If they draft a running back, it could be curtains for Goodson.

8. Scouting shake-up: Last year's draft was widely considered a success, yet some of the unsung people who contributed -- a handful of area scouts -- were replaced. This will be Idzik's first draft with his scouting staff in place. For the record, the new scouts: Chris Prescott (Virginia to Louisiana), David Hinson (Midwest), Dave Boller (West) and Rick Courtright (national combine scout). Former player Aaron Glenn, who worked in pro personnel in 2012, became an area scout for the first time, working Texas to North Dakota.

9. Numbers game: Vick should be changing his number again in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

10. Richard the Reclusive: The last time an Alabama quarterback was drafted in the first round was ... you have to go back, back, back to Richard Todd in 1976 -- sixth overall by the Jets. The 38-year drought is "kind of sad," according to Todd, who is hoping AJ McCarron will end the slump (he won't). Todd doesn't do many interviews, so it was interesting to read his comments last week on his initial experience with the Jets.

"I was kind of thrown to the wolves when I was drafted," Todd told "I thought I'd back up Joe (Namath) for two or three years and it took about two or three games, and I was kind of thrown into it. We threw the ball about six times a game my senior year (in the wishbone), so it was totally different.''

Two words, Richard: A.J. Duhe.

Sunday notes: Jets' endless star search

April, 27, 2014
Apr 27
Checking up on the New York Jets:

1. Woe-ffense: For too long, the Jets have been playing offense with hand-me-downs from other teams -- free-agent pick ups, trade acquisitions and an assortment of castoffs. The list is long: Brett Favre, Thomas Jones, LaDainian Tomlinson, Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Kellen Winslow, etc. The Jets' best offensive player of this generation, Curtis Martin, came from the New England Patriots. Eric Decker, Chris Johnson and Michael Vick are the latest to join the recycled crowd, although Decker was a premium free agent. There's no law that says you can't build this way, but the lack of homegrown talent is both alarming an mind-boggling.

[+] EnlargeEric Ebron, Antonio Crawford
Bob Donnan/USA TODAY SportsCould North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron be the homegrown skill player the Jets desperately need?
Try to wrap your brain around this: The last-drafted skill-position player to make the Pro Bowl on offense was wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson, the first overall pick in 1996. As Keyshawn himself would say, "Come on, man!" They've drafted some "almosts" over the years, players such as Mark Sanchez, Shonn Greene and Dustin Keller, but they never hit it big for various reasons. Santana Moss and Laveranues Coles made the Pro Bowl, but they did it with the Washington Redskins. The point is, the Jets never will escape also-ran status until they draft and develop their own stars. They should keep that in mind when they start drafting in 11 days.

2. Dreaming of a tight end: The Jets really like North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron. They see him as a wide receiver/tight end hybrid that would be a matchup nightmare in a flexed position. Problem is, it's hard to imagine him falling to 18th. The Buffalo Bills (ninth) and New York Giants (12th) need a tight end and could take Ebron. If he gets past the Bills, what would it take to get ahead of the Giants? According to the draft value chart, the Jets would have to trade their third rounder and their two non-compensatory fourth-round picks to move up to the 11th spot, currently held by the Tennessee Titans. That's a lot to give up for a tight end.

2.a. Scouting term of the week: In a conference call with the NFL Nation reporters, ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay used the term "buffet blocker." What is a buffet blocker? "He kind of picks and chooses when he wants to get interested," McShay said. In case you're wondering, he was referring to Ebron.

3. The Fab Four: If I had to select the four most likely picks for the Jets at 18, I'd say: wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Odell Beckham Jr., and cornerbacks Darqueze Dennard and Justin Gilbert. That could change by draft day, of course, but that's what I'm hearing right now.

4. Don't forget the D: For those who believe the Jets absolutely must go heavy on offense in this draft, consider this: The Jets recorded sacks on only 4.6 percent of third-down dropbacks, the only team in the league under 6.5 percent, according to ESPN Stats & Information. You know what that tells me? The "Sons of Anarchy" could use some help.

5. Q's time is now: The Jets made the no-brainer decision by exercising the fifth-year option for Muhammad Wilkerson ($6.97 million). Next year, the decision might not be so cut-and-dried with 2012 first-rounder Quinton Coples, who has yet to approach his potential. The fixed salary won't be set for another year, but they're looking at about $7 million for Coples. They're expecting big things this year from Coples, whose development was impeded last season with the switch to rush linebacker.

6. Double rejection: Rex Ryan is popular coach, evidenced by his fourth-place finish in a 2013 survey that asked players across the league to name the coach they'd most like to play for. But the notion all players are dying to play for Ryan and the Jets is a bit ridiculous. For instance: They were spurned by two free agents that took less money to play for other teams. Wide receiver Sidney Rice, who recently visited with the Jets, said he decided to return to the Seattle Seahawks (one year, $1.4 million) even though the Jets offered him more. Safety Kurt Coleman, who signed with the Minnesota Vikings (one year, $900,000) after visiting the Jets, said the Jets offered some guaranteed money. The Vikings didn't, but he opted for them anyway. Apparently, some players can resist Ryan's charm and the Jets' money.

7. Cornering the market: If the Jets don't pick a cornerback in the first round, I wouldn't be surprised if they explore the possibility of acquiring a veteran, perhaps in a trade. There has been speculation about the Dallas Cowboys trying to deal the disappointing Morris Claiborne, the sixth overall pick in 2012, but they'd take a major cap hit. Right now, his cap charge is $4.4 million, but it would explode to $9.6 million if they trade him, counting the bonus acceleration. The Cowboys would have to receive an offer they can't refuse to absorb that kind of hit.

8. From the what-if dept.: This never became public, but the Jets showed interest in wide receiver Julian Edelman during free agency. Ryan, in particular, was intrigued by the idea of stealing a weapon from the rival Patriots. Edelman ended up re-signing with the Patriots for $17 million over four years. Landing Edelman would've been quite a coup.

9. Sign of the times: In 2014, the Jets will pay kicker Nick Folk ($3.6 million) almost as much as running back Chris Johnson ($4 million), once regarded as one of the elite players in the league. It's a tale of two markets: Kicker salaries are increasing, running-back prices are plummeting.

10. Not what you think: I've heard coaches over the years say they prefer to face teams with new head coaches early in the season, figuring they still will be getting acclimated to new schemes. This may surprise you, but there's no evidence to suggest those particular teams are more vulnerable early in the season than late. Since 2000, new head coaches have a .453 winning percentage in the first month, followed by .427 in October, .455 in November and .451 in the final month, per ESPN Stats & Information. The Jets play three teams with new coaches, only one of which comes early -- the Detroit Lions (Sept. 28). They also have the Minnesota Vikings (Dec. 7) and Tennessee Titans (Dec. 14).

Jets injury report: Milliner, Coples sit out

October, 9, 2013
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets cornerback Dee Milliner (hamstring) did not practice Wednesday, while linebacker Quinton Coples (ankle) also didn't go.

Milliner has not practiced since straining his hamstring on Sept. 25, and has missed the last two games. He did some individual work during the portion open to the media on Wednesday. It's too early in the week to know whether he has a chance to return Sunday against Pittsburgh.

Coples missed practice as he continues to work his way back after suffering a hairline fracture in his right ankle and undergoing surgery. Jets coach Rex Ryan didn't seem concerned about Coples' absence.

Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett was a surprise non-participant in practice as he sat out with a knee issue. He rode the stationary bike during the portion open to the media.

Offensive lineman Oday Aboushi (knee) returned to practice in a limited capacity. He hasn't played yet this season.

Here's the full injury report:


Did not practice
LB Quinton Coples (ankle)
DL Kenrick Ellis (personal reason)
WR Clyde Gates (knee)
RB Mike Goodson (illness)
WR Santonio Holmes (foot/hamstring)
DB Jaiquawn Jarrett (knee)
DB Dee Milliner (hamstring)
TE Kellen Winslow (knee)

Limited practice
OL Oday Aboushi (knee)
RB Chris Ivory (hamstring)
DB Darrin Walls (shoulder)

Full practice

DB Antonio Allen (finger)
OL Willie Colon (knee)
DB Antonio Cromartie (hip)
DL Sheldon Richardson (shoulder)


WR Markus Wheaton (finger)

Limited practice
S Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith (hip)

Full practice
OG Ramon Foster (pectoral)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (right finger)

Practice report: Geno struggles

August, 19, 2013
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets may have moved training camp to a new venue for Monday’s practice, but the quarterbacks were beset by the same issues. Mark Sanchez again outplayed Geno Smith, who didn’t seem hampered by the ankle that kept him out of Saturday night’s game against the Jaguars.

Sanchez, playing for the second-team offense, was 7-for-10 passing, with a sack, a drop and a fumbled snap. The bonus about that for Sanchez, at least on Monday, was that he wasn’t throwing the ball to WR Stephen Hill.

Hill had two drops playing with Smith, both on deep, well-thrown balls. But even those drops didn’t account for the 1-for-6 performance, which included a sack and an interception by DeMario Davis. Smith started well enough, but his play went downhill as practice wore on.

Even though Smith’s ankle seemed better, the rookie didn’t advance his case for the starting job in the Jets' quarterback competition, and time is running out. The team had hoped to have a settled starter for the Giants game this Saturday, but has extended the competition.

That extension doesn’t mean much if Smith continues to play like he has when given opportunities with the first-team offense.

COPING WITHOUT COPLES: Quinton Coples will have a medical procedure Tuesday on his injured ankle and will be out indefinitely. He was not at practice, and although Antwan Barnes is technically listed as his backup, Garrett McIntyre was used at outside linebacker in his place.

Also on the defensive line, Kenrick Ellis missed practice, presumably with the back issue he’s been dealing with. Damon Harrison filled in for Ellis.

FIRST ON SECONDARY: Safety Antonio Allen was back with the first-team defense after Jaiquawn Jarrett was tapped to start last Saturday against the Jaguars.

ATTENDANCE REPORT: Ellis and Coples were out, C Dalton Freeman, WR Braylon Edwards and TE Kellen Winslow Jr. rode the stationary bike. Joe McKnight wore a red jersey.

Our 'Corty' awards: A look back at Cortland

August, 15, 2013

To commemorate the Jets' three-week stay in Cortland, which ended Thursday, we present our "Cortys" -- the best and worst from Cortland:

PLAYER WHOSE STOCK IMPROVED THE MOST: Bilal Powell. Without Chris Ivory and Joe McKnight for much of camp, and with Mike Goodson never making it to camp, Powell became the workhorse in the backfield and impressed with his all-around play. He'll be a key player, especially early in the season as Ivory works his way into top condition.

PLAYER WHOSE STOCK DROPPED THE MOST: McKnight. He's lucky Goodson didn't report -- or else he'd be in serious jeopardy. As it stands now, he's not a lock to make the team. McKnight is as dependable as a weather forecast in South Florida.

MOST IMPROVED: Stephen Hill. It wasn't a drop-free camp -- I can recall two bad ones -- but the second-year receiver made great strides as a route-runner. He also has a better understanding of coverages. Now he has to take it to the games.

WAYNE CHREBET UNDERDOG AWARD: Ryan Spadola. Tell me if this story sounds familiar? Jersey kid from non-BCS school goes undrafted, signs a free-agent contract and turns heads in camp. Spadola has a good chance to make the 53-man roster. Shades of Chrebet in 1995.

TOUR DE FRANCE AWARD: Santonio Holmes. He spent a lot of time on the stationary bike, continuing his rehab from foot surgery. No one knows when he'll return to action. If the before-after is Week 1, bet the "after." By then, he'll have logged plenty of miles.

CONSPICUOUSLY QUIET: Dee Milliner. It's not often the ninth overall pick in the draft can remain relatively anonymous. He signed late and needed only a few days to leapfrog Kyle Wilson on the depth chart, but the rookie cornerback generated little buzz -- and that's not always a good thing.

DEJA VU MOMENT: Mark Sanchez's pick-six in Detroit. First series of the preseason ... a basic screen pass ... a lob toss and ... there goes Ansah for a touchdown! It took Sanchez less than four minutes to destroy the hopes of the optimistic Jets fans who dared to think this season might be different.

NINE LIVES AWARD: Sanchez. After an interception in the scrimmage, he fired a long TD pass to Hill. After the interception in Detroit, he led an 80-yard TD drive, culminating with a 26-yard scoring pass. Say this for him: He's resilient.

MOST MEMORABLE QUOTE: Rex Ryan on Geno Smith's Wednesday practice -- "It was brutal. That was Geno's worst day."

MOST MEMORABLE QUOTE II: Ryan on the Sanchez interception and Smith's performance in the opener: "I never saw it. ... You probably saw more plays than I did."

MOST MEMORABLE QUOTE III: Ryan on his future: "It's safe to say I won't be here if we draft [Jadeveon] Clowney."

BEST ROOKIE NOBODY IS PAYING ATTENTION TO: Tommy Bohanon -- or "Tommy Bahama," as Ryan calls him. The seventh-round pick from Wake Forest will be the opening-day fullback, count on it. Adios, Lex Hilliard.

Ryan It's safe to say I won't be here if we draft (Jadeveon) Clowney.

-- Rex Ryan
DREW ROSENHAUS AWARD: McKnight. Taking a page from the agent's celebrated 2005 interview about Terrell Owens, when he kept answering, "Next question," McKnight tried to stiff-arm reporters when asked about his turbulent camp. In a span of three minutes, covering 17 questions, he responded seven times with, "I'm not getting into that." P.S.: Rosenhaus ended up writing a book, entitled, "Next Question." Start writing, Joe.

MOST OVERPLAYED STORY: Sanchez hearing boos in the scrimmage. A turnover-prone quarterback gets booed for throwing an interception? Oh, my God, what's happening to society?

MOST TALENTED PLAYER WHO LEFT YOU WANTING MORE: Quinton Coples. He showed a flash here and there at his new position, outside linebacker, but the coaches expect bigger things from him.

WORST MOMENTS: Aaron Berry and John Griffin suffering season-ending injuries. They had a chance to make the team as backups, especially Berry.

ODE TO TIM TEBOW: Mike Sielski, beat writer for the Wall Street Journal. On a dreary day early in camp, Sielski conjured up memories of Tebow (not really) by pulling off his shirt and running through the rain. Surprisingly (or not), he was actually faster than Tebow.

Take 5: Breakout players for 2013

July, 8, 2013
Continuing out "Take 5" series ... here are our top breakout players for the coming season:

1. NT Kenrick Ellis: After two nondescript seasons, it's time for Ellis to bust out. The former third-round pick was slowed in his first two seasons by injuries and legal issues that hung over his head, but he has matured and should be ready to take a giant step. He has the size (6-foot-4, 346 pounds) to be an exceptional run stuffer.

2. LB DeMario Davis: The second-year player is slated to replace Bart Scott in the base package. Davis got a good taste of the NFL last season, playing in 308 defensive snaps (29 percent). He probably will play in nickel and should excel in coverage, adding speed to a perennially slow linebacking corps.

3. TE Jeff Cumberland: Because of Dustin Keller's injuries, Cumberland played a lot last season -- 592 offensive snaps (55 percent). That ratio should increase into the 70s now that Keller is gone. Cumberland has limitations, but his receiving skills should be enhanced in a West Coast-style offense. Plus, it's a contract year.

4. DE/OLB Quinton Coples: You don't find too many former No. 1 picks on a "breakout" list, but we're including Coples because he only scratched the surface last season as a backup. He led the team with 5.5 sacks, but that was hardly a monster rookie year. The plan is to make him a rush linebacker, which should create more sack opportunities. He has the raw talent; the question is whether he wants to pay the price for greatness.

5. S Josh Bush: After playing only a handful of defensive snaps as a rookie, Bush is the favorite to win the starting job opposite Dawan Landry. The former sixth-round pick is known for his coverage ability, which should make him a nice complement to Landry. Bush is raw, but his skill set translates to the pass-happy NFL, so he should have chances to make plays.

Rex not happy with Coples

May, 10, 2013
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Quinton Coples, who came out of North Carolina last year with a reputation for questionable practice habits, was publicly chided by Rex Ryan Friday for slacking off in the weight room.

"I'm a little disappointed with Q in the weight room," said Ryan, claiming it stems from one day -- Thursday.

It's hard to believe that Ryan would call out a player for one bad day. Clearly, this was the coach's way of sending a message to the former first-round pick. A year ago, the coaches questioned Coples' work ethic early in the season. He picked it up and finished with a team-high 5.5 sacks.

This season, the plan is to convert the 280-pound Coples to outside linebacker. Ryan said "we can definitely do that," but he added, "If he doesn't do a better job in the weight room, he might have to ... he has to compete like everybody else for a job."

TURNING HEADS: Ryan singled out first-round DT Sheldon Richardson (Missouri) and undrafted WR Zach Rogers (Tennessee) as first-day standouts. Rogers is a crafty slot receiver with a knack for getting open. He also wears No. 15, Tim Tebow's old number -- another reason that made him conspicuous. Richardson was used in different spots along the defensive line, including nose tackle.

"He was impressive to say the least," Ryan said.

Ryan tweaked critics who say the Jets erred by picking a lineman -- Richardson -- who played in a 4-3 scheme in college. Said Ryan: "Give us a good football player and, in this system, we'll make a good player great."

First-round CB Dee Milliner (Alabama), still recovering from shoulder surgery, sat out drills.

THE NEW OLD REX: At times during practice, it looked like the Jets had co-head coaches -- Ryan and offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.

Just as he did during his first season, 2009, Ryan devoted most of his time to coaching the defense. He has gone back and forth with his approach. After the bitter finish in 2011, he vowed to become more involved in all aspects of the team. Now he's getting back to his roots, coaching the D. Ryan said it's because they may have six or seven new starters on defense, and he feels obligated to play a teaching role.

GENO MUM ON AGENTS: QB Geno Smith, who fired his agents after the draft, said he still hasn't hired new representation. He reportedly met with prospective agents earlier this week. He deflected questions about the subject, saying, "It's not one of my priorities." He didn't deny a report that said he's considering Jay-Z of the Roc Nation agency.

Smith, Milliner and Richardson are the only draft picks that haven't signed.