Rex Ryan hopes Ricky Sapp can provide Jets with sacks

Ricky Sapp stands on the field during training

Ricky Sapp stands on the field during training camp at the SUNY-Cortland. (July 29, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Outside linebacker Ricky Sapp will make his NFL debut for the Jets on Sunday with a clear mandate from coach Rex Ryan: sack the quarterback.

Sapp, who was added to the roster Thursday, was a fifth-round pick of the Eagles in 2010 and spent part of last season on the Jets' practice squad. Injuries -- including a high ankle sprain in the preseason -- have kept him on the sidelines, but he impressed Ryan recently on the practice field.

"He has been a handful for us to block," Ryan said. "The young man's a guy who keeps going like this."

When he said "like this," Ryan's hand swooped up like a plane taking off. The same can't be said for the Jets' pass rush. They have only 12 sacks, which was 29th in the league going into Thursday night's game.

Enter Sapp.

"He's worked so well that it's, 'Let's see what he can do,' " Ryan said. "And we will. We'll find out. He's going to be active for us and we'll watch him chase the passer."

Sapp did just that in his four years as a defensive end at Clemson, totaling 171/2 sacks, including one against Seattle rookie Russell Wilson when the quarterback was at North Carolina State.

"He's definitely a great athlete," Sapp said. "He's very quick. He can move. It's going to be a challenge for us. I got him in college, but one time he faked me out real good. I'm excited to see him again, talk a little trash to him."

Sapp hasn't talked trash to anyone for a while. He spent the 2010 season on injured reserve with a knee injury. In 2011, the Eagles cut him after he walked out of training camp without permission for the second straight year.

"I learned a lot," Sapp said. "Went through some things there. I just thank God that I went through that and got to this point and finally get my opportunity to play. I knew that I had to come here and start over and show them that I could still play and be a professional athlete. Rex and [GM] Mike [Tannenbaum] took a chance on me. I thank them almost every day for that."

If he can get to Russell on Sunday, Sapp won't be the only one saying thanks.

"Ricky's had some ups and downs," defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said. "He was on the street and I think came back with a great attitude."

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