A controversy was created at Jets rookie camp when first round pick Quinton Coples was told to sit out of 11-on-11 drills during the second day of practice. Members of the media went into a frenzy on twitter about the Coples “benching” and asked if he were injured. To his credit Coples simple said he was told to stay out, “If the boss says sit down, sit down. That’s what I did.”
Coach Rex Ryan explained that Coples was left out of drills to get a look at other rookie defensive linemen since it might be his last opportunity to see certain players in action. While Ryan’s explanation is plausible ask yourself this question: Didn’t Ryan know leaving Coples out of the entire drill would create a story?
Coples was considered a top 10 draft talent but fell to the Jets at 16 mostly due to work ethic concerns. Leaving him out of the drill would look like some sort of punishment given the perception of Coples not being a hard worker. Why not have Coples run some plays in the drill then take him out? This would have made Ryan’s explanation seem more logical, “I wanted to see some of the other guys compete give them an opportunity.” It probably would have at least lessened if not totally eliminated the media hype that Coples was benched for some other reason and Ryan had to know entering his post-camp press conference that the first question would be about Coples non-participation.
The day before Coach Ryan was informed Coples had said he knew the playbook already and Ryan reacted with some surprise saying, “This is one practice and he has four defenses in and our library is a little more extensive than that.”
Ryan is known as a players coach but that does not preclude him from a tweak now and then. Remember he would sit quarterback Mark Sanchez in practice and let back-up Mark Brunell run plays with the first team to send a message to Sanchez.
So why would Ryan want to deal with the media by pulling out Coples unless he was sending him a subtle message? It seems as if Ryan let Coples understand who was in charge and a first round pick doesn’t mean a free ride. Maybe he wanted Coples to realize you never truly know everything, even the playbook. You’ll have to earn it every day or you could be sitting on the sideline real easy.
There is no way to know this for sure it’s just strange how Ryan handled the situation given the fact it was bound to blow up, if in fact, Ryan really wanted to see other players. The interesting thing is since then Coples has been a model player no mention of poor work ethic/taking plays off and seeing him at mini-camp he looks like the real deal, only time will tell, but there is no limit to his potential. Just wonder if Coach Ryan nipped any potential problem in the bud giving Coples the focus and understanding about being a professional he’ll need to live up to his talent.