Pass rush actually turned out to be strong for the New York Jets Week 1 against visiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This was a pleasant surprise as New York has struggled mightily in recent history getting to opposing quarterback. Allowing these signal callers more time creates big plays down field.
Even when head coach Rex Ryan fielded a dominant defense his first two years there were such problems. During 2011’s AFC Championship Game Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was able to avoid sacks while extending plays. They did not appear improved in their efforts last year as elite players tore them apart.
Sunday demonstrated some hope, however, that 2013 could be different. Gang Green’s defensive line boasts solid potential. Budding star defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson totaled 69 combined tackles in 2012 with five sacks. Rookie Sheldon Richardson looked solid by collecting seven total tackles and half a sack. He constantly has high energy playing near the line of scrimmage. Despite capabilities of these individuals another Jet is important.
Quinton Coples had 5.5 sacks during his rookie season. The plan to switch him between outside linebacker and defensive end offers versatility. This helped justify what Ryan saw in him during 2012’s Draft. When motivated he has great ability to shed blocks from offensive linemen. A great build and quickness help Coples create issues for an opposing backfield. His teammates, which also include Kenrick Ellis, are capable of producing in the meantime. An earlier ankle injury took him out of their opening game. When this occurred it was stated that Coples would be out ‘indefinitely’. Such time means a return in either Week 2 against hate rival New England Patriots or Gang Green’s next home game when they host quarterback EJ Manuel’s Buffalo Bills. He would be missed against Tom Brady who is difficult to defend no matter who is available, and Manuel flashed great potential in his debut. There should be a return soon, and that would greatly help the Jets.