Jets' Coples out indefinitely, McIntyre to fill in
Coach Rex Ryan confirmed Monday that the linebacker is out indefinitely with an ankle injury, and Garrett McIntyre will take his place on the starting defense. The Jets announced Sunday night that Coples, who led the team with 5 1/2 sacks last season as a rookie, was having a ''medical procedure'' on Tuesday.
''I don't know the particulars right now on surgery,'' Ryan said. ''We just know that he's out for at least the preseason games. We're putting it that he's out indefinitely because we don't know exactly the timeframe on it.''
That has been some speculating that the injury could be more serious than first thought. Coples was hurt late in the second quarter of New York's 37-13 win over Jacksonville on Saturday night when he batted down a pass by Chad Henne and suffered what is believed to be a hairline fracture in his right ankle.
He limped off the field after the play and was examined by team trainers on the sideline before being taken to the locker room a few minutes later for further tests.
''It's really disappointing because the young man was really playing well for us,'' Ryan said. ''I think we all saw that.
''But hopefully he'll be back sooner than later.''
Coples lined up primarily at defensive end last season. Ryan planned to have Coples play outside linebacker and occasionally slide into his old defensive line spot -- a transition that Coples was still working on this preseason.
The outside linebacker job will fall primarily to McIntyre, in his third season with the Jets, and Antwan Barnes, who was signed as a free agent from San Diego this offseason.
''Garrett, I think he's really earned that right,'' Ryan said. ''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.''
McIntyre practiced with the starters Monday, and has been productive as a backup on defense and special teams contributor. He had 3 1/2 sacks last season, showing occasional flashes while filling in.
''It's unfortunate, but it's a great opportunity for me to go out with the 1s and show what I got,'' he said. ''In this game, if you don't take advantage of opportunities, you don't play for very long.''
Ryan praised McIntyre's work ethic, calling it ''phenomenal,'' and added that he's one of the team's top-conditioned players.
''Garrett's just a guy (who's) smart, knows the defense, we can plug him in a lot of different spots and he does a tremendous job,'' Ryan said. ''I'm expecting big things from him this year.''
McIntyre's road to NFL starter has been unique, to stay the least. The 28-year-old native of South Lake Tahoe, Calif., went undrafted out of Fresno State in 2006, and spent parts of that season with Seattle, Arizona and Tennessee. He then played two years in the Arena Football League before spending two years in the Canadian Football League, and then was signed by the Jets in January 2011.
''If anything, that's what's helped me over the years,'' McIntyre said, ''is being able to adjust to different situations.''
NOTES: RB-KR Joe McKnight (head injury) returned to practice for the first time since being carted to the locker room at SUNY Cortland last Monday. He wore a red no-contact jersey, but returned kickoffs and ran some plays on offense. ... NT Kenrick Ellis (back) and C Dalton Freeman (ankle) missed practice, while WR Braylon Edwards and TE Kellen Winslow Jr. received ''rest days.'' ... WR Santonio Holmes could be closer than expected to returning from the foot injury that has sidelined him since Week 4 last season. He ran at what appeared to be full speed before the game Saturday night, and even made some cuts. Holmes previously said he wasn't yet running. ''I don't know how fast he is expecting to play, but I think he looked pretty good,'' QB Geno Smith said. ''(He) was running pretty fast.''