Jets look to youth to spark pass rush

Pro Football Weekly
Jets rookie DE Coples showing plenty of flashes
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Jets rookie DE Coples showing plenty of flashes

The Jets’ search for a consistent pass rusher has looked fruitless through the first half of this season. Through eight games, the Jets have 12 sacks, only two fewer than the Jaguars, who have the lowest total in the league. Gang Green is on pace for 24 sacks in the season, which would be the club’s lowest total for a full season since sacks became an official NFL stat in 1982. Calvin Pace, Quinton Coples, Garrett McIntyre and Bryan Thomas all share the Jets’ team lead with two sacks apiece. Granted, sacks are not the only measure of a pass rush, but the Jets aren’t even getting QB hits, as they are well off last year’s pace (74 in 16 games) with 25 through eight games.

In the offseason, we heard that getting an edge rusher was one of the Jets’ priorities, which is one of the reasons why they drafted Coples in the first round. Coples’ snaps have increased and he is playing better, but the threat to the quarterback simply isn’t in the Jets’ front seven every snap. Pace leads the team with five QB hits, but he is not the player he used to be. Aaron Maybin, who broke out last year with six sacks, has zero this season, as does ILB Bart Scott, who is battling a toe injury. Coples could be the best option at this point.

One player who impressed observers and the coaching staff in the summer, OLB Ricky Sapp, received a promotion to the active roster, and could play in his first NFL game on Sunday against Seattle. Injuries have hampered the start of Sapp’s NFL career, but he was a successful pash rusher in college. “Let’s see what he can do,” head coach Rex Ryan said Thursday. “We’ll find out. He’s going to be active for us and we’ll watch him chase the passer.” 

Ryan’s aggressive defense hasn’t necessarily needed an elite pass rusher, and the overall pass defense has been good, but it certainly would help down the stretch, and getting to the quarterback is more important this season with lockdown CB Darrelle Revis sidelined.

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