Quinton Coples may have opened a few eyes in Thursday’s OTA session. At the very least, among the media.
The Jets first-round pick made a good impression during practice, pressuring any quarterback in his path.
“He looks like he’s killing it out there,” head coach Rex Ryan said of Coples.
The first-rounder, selected 16th overall in April, made it a point to show his fellow defensive linemen that he’s prepared to make a statement this season – in practice and during the regular season.
“I’m going to take over today,” Coples told veteran nose tackle Sione Pouha. “Match my intensity.”
And that’s just what happened.
Pouha praised Coples’ effort, which also included a pass breakup of a ball thrown by starting quarterback Mark Sanchez.
“He had a great practice today,” said Pouha. “He took the bull by the horns and wanted to set the tempo for our defensive line and he went out there and did it.”
For rookies – especially first-round picks – a delicate balance must exist between asserting yourself and knowing your place.
“You might be a little timid or (question) ‘Should I lead? Should I not?’” said Pouha. “He came in and said, ‘Hey, follow me man. Let me take the lead.’”
Coples said the adjustment to the pros has been made easier by the new CBA rules, which he said, require rookies to spend 10 hours a day at the facility.
“That’s definitely given me a jumpstart and given me the one-on-one time I need to master the playbook and be able to go out there and play fast,” he said.
Pouha said he pleased Coples took it upon himself to show what he can do.
“People talk about starting positions, but on the defensive lines, we’re all leaders. We’re all starters, we all practice like leaders, will all practice like starters. When it’s third-and short, you want somebody like that next to you. You don’t count the age. You count his heart. And when you know you’ve got somebody like that next to you, that talks like that in OTAs, that’s somebody you trust when it’s third-and goal.”