- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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Quinton Coples suffered a hairline fracture in his right ankle and will miss three to four weeks, ESPNNewYork.com reported Saturday night. The good news is, he won't need surgery, according to a source. The impact of his absence:
1. Out two games?: Based on the timetable, Coples probably will miss the first two regular-season games -- the opener against the Bucs and, four days later, the Thursday night game in New England.
2. Stunting progress: Coples is learning a new position -- outside linebacker -- and will lose valuable practice time. It was clear, in the first two games, that he's still not comfortable on the edge in a two-point stance. At times, he takes wrong angles and fails to set the edge. He's still get familiar with the concept of playing in space. Make no mistake, this injury is a big setback in his development.
3. Replacement plan: Fortunately for the Jets, they have an experienced backup, Antwan Barnes. The problem is, Barnes, who plays in the sub packages, could be overworked as an every-down player. Other outside 'backers such as Garrett McIntyre and Ricky Sapp could be part of the replacement plan.
4. Inside job: The Jets will miss Coples' ability as an interior rusher. When they go to a four-man line in nickel, he lines up inside with Muhammad Wilkerson, forming an athletic inside tandem. This could be a factor against the Patriots, because you have to figure the Jets will be in nickel much of the game, facing Tom Brady & Co.