Quinton Coples still is adjusting to his various assignments, the speed and nuances of the NFL -- and apparently, the importance of practice.
The Jets' first-round pick has shown flashes on game day, but it's his lack of intensity on the practice field that's caught the attention of Calvin Pace and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.
“Practice is big around here," Coples said Tuesday. "It’s something very big to the coaches. I’m working on being a better practice player. When the lights come on I play good football, but practice is very important. So at the end of the day, I’m working to be the best as I can in practice as I am on game day.”
But on Sunday night, Coples was criticized by coach Rex Ryan for displaying a "woe is me" attitude when the rookie was forced to stay in for almost the entire Panthers game.
Coples, selected 16th overall in April's NFL draft, said he got "a little tired" chasing running backs "five, 10 yards," but maintained he never asked to come out.
"By the time the ball’s snapped, I’m good,” he said.
Despite his frustrations with the rookie after the game, Ryan said on Tuesday that he is "absolutely not" concerned about Coples' preparation or readiness for the NFL.
The rookie defensive end said he didn't hear about his coach's post-game comments until Monday when Ricky Sapp told him. But Coples said he wasn't bothered by them.
"I think he’s got high expectations for me and at the end of the day, I have to meet his expectations,” he said of Ryan. "Any time Coach speaks to me through the press or it’s one-on-one, whatever he says, I definitely think it’s a motivation thing for me to be the best I can be.”
“Nah, not at all. I play football lbecause I love the ga,e. And at that end of the day, I just think people are going to say what they feel. At the end of the day, I’m here, I play for the Jets and playing to the best of my ability.”
Pettine joked after the Jet’s first preseason game against Cincinnati that the coaching staff should hang up Coples’ game jersey in his locker to elicit the same type of intensity during practice.
Coples, who was dogged by criticisms about his motor and work ethic coming out of North Carolina, took the crack in stride. The rookie said he’s not looking to change anyone’s opinion of him.
“Nah, not at all,” he said, when asked if he’s eager to shake his negative reputation. “I play football because I love the game. And at that end of the day, I just think people are going to say what they feel. At the end of the day, I’m here, I play for the Jets and playing to the best of my ability.”