As I noted in the defensive linemen section, Quinton Coples was a disruptive force in the first half, causing the Browns to adjust and freeing up Muhammad Wilkerson to do more damage in the second half. It’s similar to what happened earlier in the season when Wilkerson had been quiet while Coples was out, but then really started producing once he returned to the lineup.
In the first half, Coples terrorized Mitchell Schwartz but – more impressively – also gave Joe Thomas problems. Coples used his speed to get the edge on a number of occasions, but whenever he was blocked off, he had his man on his heels and was driving them back into Jason Campbell to collapse the pocket. Campbell was forced to get rid of the ball early plenty of times, but Coples still had five pressures and was credited with a half-sack. Over the past month or so, he’s overtaken Wilkerson as the Jets’ most disruptive pass rushing force, although what happens in the second half suggests that it generally comes down to how the other teams gameplans to stop them both.
Calvin Pace has also been benefiting from the resources opposing teams are having to dedicate towards stopping Wilkerson, Coples or both of them. He picked up his 10th sack of the season, joining Wilkerson as the first pair of Jets players to each have double-digit sacks since Mark Gastineau and Joe Klecko in 1981. CBS said this was the first time that had happened in Jets history (because the sack wasn’t an officially recognized statistic until 1982), but as commenter DarrolRayJetsFan astutely pointed out earlier today this is like saying JFK was the first president to be assassinated because there was no TV back in the 1800’s.
Other than his sack, Pace had three other pressures and made a good stop off the edge. He did lose contain on one run though, jumped offside once and got lucky when the receiver dropped a pass when he was too far off in zone coverage. Coples blew up one run in the backfield for a loss, but also had a missed tackle in the backfield leading to a big gain on an end around.
On the inside, David Harris and Demario Davis were more consistent this week. Harris was blocked out of a couple of plays in the second quarter, but made some positive contributions with a handful of run stuffs, a couple of pass breakups and a quarterback hit. He also made a third down stop to force a punt, but did miss one tackle. Davis pressured Campbell on the blitz twice and was in on one run stuff, but did get blocked out of a play at the second level and jumped offside once. With the lack of weapons at the tight end and slot receiver positions, it’s perhaps not surprising that Harris and Davis had better numbers in coverage this week. They gave up 19 yards on five combined targets.
Garrett McIntyre played 14 snaps off the bench but made no real impact. On one play, it looked like he was going to pressure Campbell, but he inexplicably stopped a few yards short of him.
Next up…the defensive backs, let by Dee Milliner’s welcome emergence.