With Quinton Coples out for an indefinite amount of time, Garrett McIntyre has the green light to get upfield. He will start at the Rush 'backer spot Saturday night for the Green & White and McIntyre's primary charge will be to put Eli Manning on his backside.
"I guess to make it simple, the SAM backer (strongside linebacker) has a little bit more coverage stuff where the Rush is a little bit more going to get the quarterback kind of like it says," he told me on "Jets Talk LIVE" this week. "Rush — go rush the quarterback. A little bit more on the line, kind of hand in the dirt defensive end where the SAM is kind of a stand-up maybe more coverage than going forward."
Last season, McIntyre set career-highs with 3.5 sacks and 39 tackles in 16 games. The 6'3", 255-pounder worked on his game in the offseason in an effort to become more versatile. While McIntyre will be asked to attack the passer more often than not, occasional coverage duties are required.
"Being able to transition in my drops with my hips and stuff, just running that way and doing a lot of dropping stuff," he said. "I've always been like a natural defensive end so the whole dropping stuff is kind of a new concept, but I've got better as the years have gone on. I guess knowing the defense too, knowing it like the back of my hand so I can play many different things."
McIntyre's perspective changed in a big way just a few months ago when his wife, August, gave birth to twin girls.
"That's my life. Those are my beauties," he said of little Summer and Harper. "They're just over three months now, twin girls. This year, they were born during OTAs and I had to shoot back to California real quick to see the birth of my children. They're the reason I work every day — they are my life."
The girls are McIntyre's little blessings. He laughed when I asked about his reaction when August told him twins were on the way.
"Oh Man. I was stunned at first. It happened so fast," he said. "My wife came home and told me. She had this look in her eyes and I could tell that either something was really wrong or something was really out of the ordinary. She told me to sit down and she told me. I'm always one to just roll with the punches."
Taking the longest of roads to the NFL, McIntyre refused to get knocked out along the way. He played two seasons of Arena ball with the San Jose Sabercats from 2007-'08, racking up six sacks. Then he moved northeast to Canada and the Fresno State product collected nine sacks and 51 tackles with the Hamilton Tiger-cats from 2009-'10. Then he got his break back in the NFL when he inked a free agent deal with the Jets on Feb. 9, 2011.
"In the offseason, you don't have OTAs and stuff," he said of playing in the Arena and Canadian leagues. "So it's pretty much six months on, six months off. You can kind of do what you want, so I poured foundations one year up in Tahoe where I'm from with my Dad. I got into personal training and I was doing that for a couple offseasons, so you have to work in the offseason."
When McIntyre flashed in his first preseason with the Jets, Rex Ryan referred to the defender with a high motor as "Canada." But the veteran OLB has earned his place in the NFL and on the Jets, so he goes by something simpler nowadays.
"He calls me Garrett," said McIntyre of Rex Ryan. "He calls me by my name."