CINCINNATI - Jason Babin got to show a little bit of what he can do Saturday night. But while the outside linebacker/defensive end was opening eyes against the Bengals, Quinton Coples was relegated to the sideline.
Babin got 31 (42 percent) of the Jets' defensive snaps during their 25-17 preseason win. Coples got only 15 snaps (20 percent). Babin, 34, also played one more snap (25) than Coples (24) in last week's win over the Colts, and he replaced his younger counterpart in the second quarter against Cincinnati.
The Jets likely will say the discrepancy in snap totals had more to do with getting a taste of what the recently signed Babin can do. Babin's statline (one assisted tackle) may not seem all that impressive compared to Coples' half-sack, but the former Jaguar showed he still can be effective, even against the run. That might not bode well for Coples, a former first-round pick.
Asked after the game about Babin's extended playing time, Rex Ryan said: "Oh, definitely a sign of things to come. This guy's a good football player. We'll definitely use him."
Coples knew he had plenty to prove heading into Year 3. As a rookie, he had 51/2 sacks as an end, but his role change caught him off guard during last year's training camp. In a recent interview with Newsday, the 6-6, 284-pound Coples spoke of his switch to outside linebacker.
"Oh, yeah, I was put in a tough position," said Coples, who had 41/2 sacks last season. "I wasn't told until I got here. I'd been working D-line and stuff like that , but then when you get here, it's like, oh, then you've got to cover receivers; oh, then you've got to cover running backs. You've got to do this, do that. You've got to drop in zone coverage, you've got to do all this and that.
"It was just a bunch of blurred lines. But I got it, I got it. It's cool. I understand it now . . . So this year, I'm prepared for whatever they throw at me."
Meanwhile, the 6-4, 265- pound Babin is looking to prove he's got plenty left in the tank in his 11th season. He played with the first-team defense against the Bengals, used as a four-down lineman and outside linebacker.
"Rushing the passer is not a problem for me," Babin said. "That's what they want me to do. I don't want to disappoint them."
Asked about playing more with the Jets, he said: "My role here is somewhat preplanned. For me, learning some of the stuff that I might not have to do is a good opportunity right now. A lot of the linebacker stuff that I haven't done in a long time, first- and second-down-type stuff. It's really a great opportunity for me to kind of reacquire those skills.''