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How OLB Will Sort Out While Quinton Coples Heals

Rex Ryan had no timetable to place on how long Quinton Coples will be sidelined with his ankle injury, from the Jacksonville game, but the Jets head coach also had no doubts about where he would turn to tide the defense over while "Q" is sidelined.

"Garrett McIntyre, I think he's really earned that right," Ryan said at today's news conference following the midday practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. "We'll rotate Antwan Barnes in there as well. We brought Barnes in really to rush the passer and that would be his role, but obviously we're going to challenge him to step it up in base as well."

But Rex said the defense's G-Mac will be the starter for the "indefinite" period Coples is out.

"Number one, his work ethic is phenomenal," Ryan said. "He's always one of our top lifters and top-conditioned athletes. But the time I've seen him, he's gotten much better. In the game, he had to cover a wideout in the slot, never flinched, just got the job done. He's smart, he knows the defense, we can plug him in a lot of different spots, and he does a tremendous job."

"Yeah, I'm glad," McIntyre said upon hearing of his coach's faith in him. "I've worked hard in the last two years to learn the defense and know the defense. I feel like I've got a pretty good grasp on both positions, so whatever role they want me to do, I'll do."

And that role has taken an unexpected turn for Garrett McIntyre, who was prepared to return to the CFL if he hadn't made the Jets roster in 2011.

"My job is to be able to play the linebacker position, our Sam and our Rush," he said. "So Q went down, the next guy's got to step up."

To say McIntyre will make us forget about the big plans for Coples in the Ryan/Dennis Thurman scheme would be a big stretch, just in terms of size: Coples is listed at 6'6", 290 while McIntyre checks in at 6'3", 255.

The statistical comparison from 2012 is apples and oranges, since Coples played the season with his hand in the dirt while McIntyre backed up Bryan Thomas in his final season at outside linebacker. Nevertheless, if we equalize McIntyre's 407 snaps with Coples' 503, we'd get 4.3 sacks for McIntyre compared to Coples' team-leading 5.5 and 2.5 tackles for loss for McIntyre to 6.0 for Coples. As for tackles, Garrett would have a large 48-28 lead over Q.

Coples' injury has been reported as a hairline ankle fracture. We haven't announced the nature of the injury. The big linebacker is expected to undergo a medical procedure Tuesday.

"We'll see how that progresses," Ryan said. "We don't really have a timetable on the injury. It's really disappointing because the young man was really playing well for us. Hopefully he'll be back sooner rather than later. ... I just know he's out for the preseason games and we're putting him as out indefinitely because we don't have a timetable on that."

McIntyre said he spoke with Coples after the injury and said the second-year LB is in good spirits.

"He'll be all right. This is football. You try to do everything right and sometimes injuries happen. That's part of the game, unfortunately," Garrett said, adding that in the interim, "It's a good opportunity for me to go out with the ones and show what I've got. In this game, if you don't take advantage of opportunities, then you don't play for very long."

Rex Cetera

Ryan said rookie QB Geno Smith, who returned to practice today after sitting out the Jaguars game with his sore ankle, is "much further along right now. He looked like he's driving the ball better, so that was good to see. He made some really nice throws down the field today." ... Rex had no word yet on the QB rotation at the Giants on Saturday night. Ryan said he's finally seeing "the real Chris Ivory," with the RB getting his first carries as a Jet vs. the Jags and then more work today. "We had a live fourth-and-1, turned and gave him the football. It was kind of BYOB — be your own blocker — and he picked up the first down, so that was impressive." ... He said he's not worried about rookie CB Dee Milliner being ready to start for us after an unsteady game Saturday night: "He's going to learn from it. I think that's the beauty of it."

With one game to go tonight (Pittsburgh-Washington) to conclude the second full week of the preseason, many of our key rankings are in the top half of the league. On offense, we're 7th in total yards per game, tied for 14th in rushing yards, 5th in passing yards and 6th in points. On defense the rankings are 11th in total yards allowed per game, 12th in rush yards, 15th in pass yards, tied for 16th in points allowed.

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