Klecko slams Coples, Wilkerson

May, 2, 2014
May 2
5:05
PM ET
Former New York Jets defensive lineman Joe Klecko, a member of the famed New York Sack Exchange, sacked two of the team's current pass rushers -- Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples -- in an interview Friday with a local radio station.

Klecko, a guest on WFAN, suggested Wilkerson and Coples don't give maximum effort on every play.

Coples
Wilkerson
"A little bit of the time, he looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane,” Klecko said of Coples. "Sometimes he gets out there and does things that are unbelievable. Well, you need to go out there and stick your nose in there every time and make sure everybody knows you're there. I think he has a lot to learn."

Coples, picked 16th overall in 2012, came into the league amid question about his practice habits and work ethic. The 6-6, 290-pound defensive end-turned-linebacker has registered only 10 sacks in two seasons. He managed just 4.5 sacks last season, but he missed the first two games (surgery to repair a fractured ankle) and made the switch to a new position, outside linebacker.

“I don’t know him at all, but understanding attitude and body language, he sometimes comes out there, I think, and thinks, ‘Don’t you know who I am? I’m here,'" Klecko said. "He has to start proving that he is something to be reckoned with

“You have to have defensive players on the team that do that kind of play – go for the jugular vein, all out, all the time. And then everyone starts to listen you. If you have just a group of lukewarm guys, you’re going to have lukewarm players that will need to have to be picked up by their leaders."

Wilkerson, who recorded a career-high 10 sacks last season, is generally regarded as the best defensive player on the team. Klecko spoke glowingly of the former first-round pick's talent, but questioned his motor.

"I think there's a few too many plays he gives up on a little bit," Klecko said. "You know, he's big enough to hunt bear with a switch, there's no doubt. He's an unbelievable talent, but he has to put it out there every single play. Now, sure, everybody is going to say, 'Yeah, he does.' No, he doesn't, I'm telling you right now. He needs to put it out there every single play. Now, (Sheldon) Richardson does that."

Richardson was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.

"I think Richardson plays with a chip on his shoulder every single play, which I like," Klecko said. "Kind of reminds me of me."

Klecko, a member of the Jets' Ring of Honor, made four Pro Bowls in the 1980s. He's the only player in history to make a Pro Bowl at three different defensive-line positions.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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