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Jets have depth at outside linebacker to withstand suspension of Brandon Copeland

Jets linebacker Frankie Luvu warms up before a

Jets linebacker Frankie Luvu warms up before a preseason game at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on Aug. 8. Credit: Daniel De Mato

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Adam Gase believes the Jets have enough depth at outside linebacker to overcome Brandon Copeland’s four-game suspension.

Gase said the Jets knew Copeland’s ban for taking PEDs was coming so they specifically had been rotating different guys in there with starter Jordan Jenkins, who tied for the team lead with seven sacks last year.

Former Patriot Harvey Langhi played with the first-team defense Thursday. But the Jets also have aggressive Frankie Luvu, Tarell Basham and Jachai Polite. The rookie Polite has played mostly with the third team but has seen some second-team action.

“The good thing is the outside linebacker crew we got pretty good depth there,” Gase said. “When you lose veteran players that have played good football, have done things right over their career, any time those guys aren’t there, that hurts us.”

The Jets lost inside linebacker Avery Williamson last week to a torn ACL. Neville Hewitt has replaced Williamson with the first team.

Copeland didn’t practice Thursday because of a thumb injury. He’s being evaluated, but he will have time to rest and heal. Copeland, who had five sacks last year, is eligible to return Oct. 13 against the Cowboys.

“It’s unfortunate,” Gase said. “He’s a guy that’s been impactful over his career. He’s one of those guys in the locker room that tries to do everything right. It’s an unfortunate situation. It’s tough for him to deal with.”

Center of attention

Gase said he plans to play center Ryan Kalil for about a quarter in Saturday's preseason game against the Saints. Kalil and Jonotthan Harrison would probably split the time with the first team.

Kalil, the former Panther who came out of retirement, just started going through full practices with the Jets this week. Gase said he still wants Sam Darnold and Harrison to work together some.

Fourth down

Kelechi Osemele (pec) and Brian Winters (shoulder) took part in individual drills, but they won’t play Saturday. Trumaine Johnson, who is out with a hamstring injury, stretched with the team. The Jets are hoping all three will be ready for Week 1.

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