Following his much-maligned “move” to “linebacker” this offseason, Quinton Coples is looking more and more comfortable and starting to look like a force to be reckoned with. There were those that doubted he’d be able to consistently turn the corner against offensive tackles, but he’s proven he can do that on a consistent basis, just like we predicted (based on the fact he’d already shown he could do that).
In this game, he had a big hit early on, then it was his pressure that caused Matt McGloin’s first half interception. Later on in the game, his inside pressure caused McGloin to fumble the ball and then Coples tackled him for a 15-yard loss (which the NFL seems to have credited as a “team sack” but may change at a later date) and he finally got his sack on the penultimate play of the game.
That doesn’t tell the whole story though. There was also a play where he beat Jared Veldheer cleanly and drew a holding penalty and four other plays where the quarterback had to take off early because he was coming. He’s causing the kind of consistent disruption over the last month or so that the elite edge rushers in the league do…and that’s exciting.
In the running game, Coples over-pursued on one play and was blocked out of another, but did contribute positively with a run stuff at the goal line. He also batted down a pass.
Off the other edge, Calvin Pace continues to sip from the fountain of youth, as he tied his career high with his 8th sack of the season. He also had another three pressures, including one that led to Coples’ sack. In the running game, he stuffed a couple of runs and in coverage he made a good open field tackle on third down to force a punt before halftime. There was one play where he and Demario Davis both covered the same receiver, leaving Reece wide open for a big gain, but Pace is showing no signs of slowing down as we approach the end of the season.
Davis was also involved in another couple of mix-ups in coverage, including one where he vacated his zone to create an angle for McGloin to complete a pass down to the goal line and another where he left a man open. He did get in on a handful of tackles near the line in the running game though and took Terrelle Pryor down for a big loss on a read option play. Davis added a couple of pressures, but did miss two tackles.
David Harris also missed two tackles, but led the Jets with eight tackles, including a handful near the line of scrimmage and two on third down. He was blocked out of the middle on the Reece touchdown and embarrassingly juked in the open field by McGloin, but made a couple of good plays in coverage and almost had two pressures, only to trip and fall just before he got there each time.
The Jets welcomed Garrett McIntyre back this week and he played 19 snaps although he was pretty quiet. He did get in on one run stop and also contributed to Davis’ tackle for loss on Pryor when he burst into the backfield to force him to bounce it outside.
Next up…what happened when the Jets finally persuaded Antonio Cromartie to start jamming the receivers in press coverage?