The New York Jets are off to a phenomenal start defensively this season, and through two games they rank 2nd in the NFL in total yards allowed and 3rd in points allowed. The Jets are relying heavily on young players, particularly in their front seven, and they have gotten excellent performances.
What’s even more impressive is that the Jets have been doing this without last year’s first round pick, starting outside linebacker Quinton Coples. Coples was expected to be the Jets’ premier pass rusher, but he suffered a fractured ankle in the preseason that has kept him out of the lineup. However, Coples returned to the practice field on Monday, an encouraging sign for the young player’s return.
Coples’ status for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills is still in question, and even if he does play he will likely be on a snap count. Still, his presence would be a great addition to the Jets’ already stellar defense. With Coples, the Jets will be starting four former 1st round picks and two former 3rd round picks in their front seven. The Jets have carefully built this defensive front through the draft, and they are reaping the rewards.
Last season as a rookie, Coples recorded 5.5 sacks while playing end in the Jets’ 3-4 front. He will play linebacker upon his return, and he will be given the sole task of getting after the quarterback. The Jets’ pass rush as been improved this season, but they still lack a dominant edge rusher. The team believes that Coples can become that player.
The Jets are relying heavily on their defense to win games this season, and the unit has been outstanding thus far. The imminent return of Coples will only make them better, and the Jets have a chance to be one of the elite defenses in the NFL this season.