FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Rex Ryan had already seen enough of Quinton Coples.
And he liked everything about the first-round draft pick. So much so, the New York Jets coach held Coples out of 11-on-11 team drills Saturday because the team wanted to evaluate other defensive linemen.
“Just keeping him out, we know what he can do,” Ryan said after the Jets’ second rookie minicamp practice. “I wanted to see some of the other guys compete, give them an opportunity to get in there and compete a little bit.”
Coples was impressive in his first practice Friday as Ryan raved that the former North Carolina star had “about six” sacks while playing most of the snaps all along the defensive line. The 16th overall pick in last week’s draft stood on the sideline Saturday, helmet in hand, during team drills because, Coples said, it was “a coach’s decision.” He participated in all other drills.
“If the boss says sit down,” Coples said, “sit down.”
Ryan insisted that the move was in no way injury- or discipline-related.
“He’s fine,” Ryan said. “There’s no injury. There’s no nothing. It really was my decision.”
Coples said Friday that he had a good grasp of the defensive playbook. When told, Ryan said: “I like his confidence. The great thing is we will hold him to it now.”
Ryan reiterated that while he might not play every snap, he thinks Coples will be a starter this season for the Jets — something he said after they drafted him before backtracking slightly.
“This guy has the athleticism where he’s going to play and start in multiple schemes, you know?” Ryan said. “Is he going to start in this defense or that one? Maybe not, but I know one thing: He’s going to play a ton.”
Ryan said he has sat top draft picks during rookie camp, especially linemen.
“You know, a lot of times, that’s the only time to evaluate these guys,” Ryan said. “We’ve already evaluated Quinton, but some of these other guys, individuals, it’s a little different. You don’t have the pads on. You’re not really banging on top of guys, all that.”
New York has five other defensive linemen in rookie camp, including Randy Colling, Matt Hardison, Damon Harrison, Stephen Ruempolhamer and Richie Smith.
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