The Biggest Winners and Losers of New York Jets Camp, Preseason so Far
Not long ago, Quinton Coples' work load was being reduced and he was struggling to make an impact during Jets training camp.
Today, Rex Ryan was comparing him to Jason Pierre-Paul.
That's how fast a player can rise or fall during the preseason.
The Jets have been at it for three weeks now and have had their share of ups and downs. There have been some injury disappointments, but nothing serious, and there have been plenty of standout rookies to get excited about.
Then, of course, there's the Tim and Mark show.
It's been an interesting camp for the Jets to say the least, and with three preseason games left, a lot will change.
However, as training camp reaches the three-week point, here's a look at the winners and losers of training camp so far.
And remember, things could still change instantly.
Winner: Quinton Coples
Before the Jets' first preseason game against the Bengals, Quinton Coples may have been under consideration for the "loser" portion of this slideshow.
Coples experienced a steep learning curve, was fairly invisible during training camp and even had to have his workload reduced.
However, once game action started, Coples bolted to the top of the class.
Coples played five plays with the first-teamers to get his feet wet and then remained on the field for the rest of the game.
Once the subs came in, Coples was just about the best player on the field for either team.
He registered five tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, batted a pass and drew a holding penalty.
Basically, he caused the kind of havoc the Jets expected to see of the first-rounder.
While it was just a small sample size against backups, the promise Coples showed in that game has the Jets world abuzz and lands Coples on the list of preseason winners so far.
Loser: Jeremy Kerley
The thing that makes Jeremy Kerley's stint in Rex Ryan's doghouse so disappointing is that he had so much to gain during this training camp.
Kerley was impressive as he built a rapport with Mark Sanchez towards the end of the 2011 season and seemed to be a lock as the team's No. 3 receiver coming into this season.
However, Kerley failed to impress during the offseason, showed up out of shape in July and has been on the sidelines after partially tearing his hamstring on the team's first day of training camp.
Kerley was back to practice on August 13 in a minimal role. According to Dave Caldwell of the New York Times, Kerley spent the practice running on the side and rotating in with special teams catching punts.
With Stephen Hill still experiencing some slight growing pains and Santonio Holmes sidelined with injured ribs, Kerley probably should have gone into the team's first preseason game as the Jets' No. 2 receiver with a temporary chance at the No. 1 spot.
Instead, Kerley will have a long road back to get back in the team's good graces and catch up on all the time he missed with Sanchez.
Winner: Joe McKnight
For the early part of training camp, most of the buzz about the running back position was about the development of Bilal Powell.
He looked like a different player in his second year and was pushing McKnight hard for the backup running back spot.
During the Jets' first preseason game, it was Powell on the field to replace Shonn Greene for the team's first third down.
However, once McKnight got his chance in the game, he took full advantage.
McKnight was having a good camp, if unheralded, up to that point, but was being overshadowed by Powell.
Against the Bengals though, McKnight was the Jets' best offensive player while Powell reverted back to the way he looked last year.
Rex Ryan and Tony Sparano are about results and even if Powell looks tremendous in camp, he will remain in his limited role if he doesn't get it done in the games.
If McKnight can shine the way he did against the Bengals, he will be an upgrade over LaDainian Tomlinson and provide the Jets offense with a much-needed spark.
Loser: Chaz Schilens
The Jets' wide receiver corps has been the most-maligned unit in camp and the fact that Chaz Schilens is unable to make an impact there speaks volumes about his stature on the team.
Schilens was brought in as a low-risk player who seemed to have a high upside.
He had some production with the Raiders and it was hoped that in working with new Jets' receivers coach Sanjay Lal, that Schilens could develop further. Lal was Schilens' position coach in Oakland and must have had input on bringing him here.
However, Schilens has done next to nothing, and if ESPN New York's Rich Cimini is right, he may just find himself released before the end of camp.
In the preseason game against the Bengals, Mark Sanchez looked very comfortable with Patrick Turner and even directed two passes in Jordan White's direction.
If Turner and White both end up on the roster, that will spell the end for Schilens if the Jets dedicate five roster spots to wide receivers.
Winner: Demario Davis
The Jets linebackers may be adept at run-stuffing and sure-tackling, but one area in which they lack is explosiveness.
Even the team's top linebacker, David Harris, doesn't pop off the field as an explosive player when watching game film, and he plays at a Pro Bowl-level.
Rookie linebacker Demario Davis could change all of that.
Davis has tremendous speed, a limitless motor and leadership traits of a veteran.
The Jets seemed thrilled to find Davis in the third round of the 2012 draft and were cautiously optimistic when he performed very well at OTAs.
Despite missing a brief amount of time with a minor injury, Davis carried that momentum into training camp.
Then when it came time to prove himself in the team's first preseason game, Davis showed the same activity.
He made an early impact with a sure tackle on Andrew Hawkins on a punt return and then turned in a four-tackle performance on defense.
With Bart Scott and Calvin Pace showing no signs of improved cover skills, a player as explosive as Davis will be hard to keep off the field.
Loser: Bart Scott
Bart Scott's situation with the Jets piggybacks on the rise of Demario Davis.
If Davis is able to work his way into a starting role or significant playing time, it likely will be at the expense of Scott.
Scott spent the offseason working with MMA trainer Dwayne Riggins and by all accounts appeared to be in great shape at training camp.
However, even if he is in tremendous shape, that doesn't change the fact that Scott is simply slowing down considerably with age.
Really, how many linebackers start getting better when they are on the wrong age of 30?
Scott has been a good soldier in training camp and it's clear that he wants to work hard to make himself better and keep his spot.
However, what is also clear is that he still can't cover a running back or tight end.
In the Jets' preseason opened, BenJarvus Green-Ellis burned Scott for a 19-yard reception. On the play, Scott trailed Green-Ellis from the snap and didn't even come close to being able to keep up with him.
Green-Ellis isn't a burner by any means, so if he can't keep up with him, what's he going to do on opening day against Fred Jackson?
Scott should be lauded for trying to recover from a down season in 2011, but you just can't make the body do something it isn't capable of.
Winner: Aaron Maybin
For one reason or another, Aaron Maybin's name has showed up in the Jets' training camp reports just about every day. The one day anyone failed to hear anything from him, though, was in the preseason game against the Bengals.
Even though he was kept off the stat sheet completely, Maybin still falls into the "winners" category because of his play in camp.
Maybin injects speed into the defense when he is on the field, and that's something the Jets defense lacked considerably in 2011.
He has sometimes been too active in practice, and had incidents in which he was chided for making too much contact on quarterbacks when he wasn't supposed to. But I'd rather have a linebacker who is too aggressive than the other way around.
Maybin has dominated at times in training camp, but if he is going to take advantage of the opportunity for increased playing time, he better not pull another disappearing act against the Giants.
For now, we'll give Maybin a mulligan for the Bengals game with the hopes that he makes strides over the next three games.
Loser: Wayne Hunter
Many times you have to take what the Jets say with a grain of salt.
They sat there at the end of last season and vowed that Brian Schottenheimer would be back as the team's offensive coordinator. Of course, eventually he was let go to the relief of everyone.
The same thing has been going on with Wayne Hunter.
The Jets have sworn up and down that Hunter will be the team's starting right tackle this year, and that still may be the case.
However, the team brought in Stephon Heyer, Ray Willis, Jeff Otah and Austin Howard with the hopes of finding some kind of solution on the line.
Even though Willis didn't work out and Otah failed his physical, it's clear the Jets are making moves to at least threaten Hunter.
The Jets line performed poorly in the preseason game against the Bengals, but that had nothing to do with Hunter, who was missing time with a bad back.
As soon as Rex Ryan rattled off praise for Howard's play during the game, Hunter's back healed and he was at practice the next day.
Hunter is 31 years old and has nine years of NFL experience. He most likely isn't going to get considerably better, no matter what the Jets say.
The team's actions show that they are trying to improve their offensive line, and right tackle would be the place to start. Even if the Jets aren't saying so, Hunter isn't cutting it at right tackle.
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