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.