2013 DRAFT GUIDE
Jets D-line promising mix of talent, personalities

By DENNIS WASZAK Jr. - AP Sports Writer
    2013-07-07 14:57

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - Antonio Garay used to scoot around San Diego in a little, red Smart Car with huge Hello Kitty faces decorating each door.

The funny photos of the former Charger and current New York Jets nose tackle squeezing his 6-foot-4, 320-pound frame into the attention-grabbing but environmentally friendly vehicle were all over the Internet a year ago.

But, new Jets teammate Quinton Coples had no idea - until he was shown the proof.

``Wow,'' a laughing Coples said, shaking his head in disbelief. ``That says a lot right there. I need to speak to that guy about this, like ASAP!''

The 33-year-old Garay is one of the newest, most-experienced - and, perhaps, most fun-loving - members of the Jets' revamped and close-knit defensive line that is considered perhaps New York's biggest strength heading into training camp in a few weeks.

``I've been trying to keep a lot of that on the down-low,'' said a smiling Garay, in his second stint with the Jets after signing as a free agent in March following four seasons with the Chargers. ``I've been downplaying the car and all that - because they told me that Quinton Coples is a big Pikachu fan, so I didn't want to steal any of his thunder.''

Well, he no longer has the Hello Kitty car, but Garay still drives a Smart Car, a red and black one that defensive line coach Karl Dunbar says is ``about the size of my desk.''

All the jokes and jabs - such as Garay begging rookie first-rounder Sheldon Richardson to leave his T-shirt on at all times - have made for some lighthearted moments among the Jets' defensive linemen this offseason.

``You never know what you're going to get when you walk into that room because we have a bunch of comedians in there,'' Dunbar said. ``It's a pretty good room, we're having fun and there's already a lot of camaraderie with that group.''

That's even after allowing Mike DeVito and Sione Po'uha, both respected and productive team leaders, to leave as free agents.

There are rising stars such as Coples and Muhammad Wilkerson, the savvy and silly vet in Garay and youngsters such as Richardson, Kenrick Ellis and Damon Harrison looking to make their marks.

Dunbar is also interested in seeing how a few others such as Lanier Coleman, Jake McDonough, Junior Aumavae and Tevita Finau perform in camp in Cortland, N.Y.

``I'm excited about the group I have,'' Dunbar said. ``I'm not going to try to sit here and downplay it.''

Dunbar certainly knows talent when he sees it. Now in his second season on Rex Ryan's staff, Dunbar spent the previous six years in Minnesota and helped turn the Vikings' defensive line into arguably the best in the NFL with Kevin Williams, Pat Williams, Ray Edwards and Jared Allen leading the way.

Minnesota allowed the fewest rushing yards in the NFL during Dunbar's tenure there, and the Vikings were the first team since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 to lead the league in rushing defense for three straight years. The Jets finished a disappointing 26th against the run in Dunbar's first year, but now the goal is to be No. 1.

``When we assessed our defensive line after the season was over and after free agency and we lost a couple of guys, we decided that, if you have big guys who can run, this defense could be phenomenal,'' Dunbar said. ``I think we did that by adding Sheldon with the 13th pick and then adding Garay, I really like where we stand right now.''

Added Harrison: ``It's crazy, man. The athleticism of this line is so scary. This season is going to be fun.''

And it all starts with Wilkerson, the team's first-round pick in 2011 who has consistently improved in his first two seasons and played well enough last season to garner Pro Bowl consideration. Individual success will come, Wilkerson believes, because of the way the defensive line expects to play.

``We know Coach Dunbar had dominant guys (in Minnesota) and we want to be dominant - not like them, but in our own way,'' Wilkerson said. ``We want to be one of the most dominant fronts in the league.''

Coples will be sliding from the defensive end spot he mostly played as a rookie last season to alternating between outside linebacker and the line. Last year's first-round pick led the team in sacks with a modest 5 1-2, and he and the Jets are expecting more this season.

``I'm just looking at getting to the quarterback and I think that's what this team looks for from me,'' Coples said. ``And I want to make sure that each and every day I'm working at that, whether it's playing D-line or outside linebacker.''

While sacks are the sexy statistic, Dunbar insists he doesn't get caught up in the numbers. Last season, the Jets finished tied for 25th in the NFL with 30 sacks, but Dunbar - as Ryan has often said - believes the key to a dominant defense is controlling the run and putting pressure on the quarterback.

``Everybody loves the sack, but you can't get them every down, every day,'' Dunbar said. ``The thing we work on as a team and understand is that we're going to be disruptive and if the sacks come, they come. But we can't get frustrated just because the media is saying we're not getting sacks. If we can force your quarterback into bad decisions with our big guys, I'm just as happy.''

Dunbar and the players also think talk about whether the Jets primarily play a 3-4 defensive front or a 4-3 is misguided. To them, sometimes what you see isn't necessarily an indicator of the team's approach.

``Truth is, we play different fronts and everybody on our D-line can play multiple positions,'' Wilkerson said. ``So it doesn't really matter with that 3-4 or 4-3 stuff. Me, Snacks (Harrison) and Q (Coples) - we all can play any position.''

It's that mix of athletic big men up front that the Jets think will make it tougher this season for opponents.

``They have to respect all four of us, or all three, or whoever's down there at the end of the day,'' Coples said. ``That's what gives us the potential to be great, and that's what we're looking forward to.''

Dunbar believes this Jets group has ``the potential to be better'' than the ones he had in Minnesota. But he knows there's plenty of work still to be done - beyond all the laughs.

``Bill Parcells used to say it all the time: `You haven't done it yet,' and this group hasn't done it yet,'' Dunbar said. ``We have to get out on the field and do it, and then maybe 10 years from now, we can look back and say, `Yeah, this was a pretty good group.'

``We're in the position where we have some really nice pieces and now the pieces have to show up.''

---

Follow Dennis Waszak on Twitter: http://twitter.com/DWAZ73

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Aldon SmithApr 17 09:32p

The San Francisco 49ers do not plan on releasing LB Aldon Smith this offseason. Smith is expected to be suspended at the beginning of the season, but the length [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 17 08:52p

New York Jets RB Chris Johnson (knee) said he expects to receive medical clearance to resume football activities in the near future. He underwent knee surgery in January but [ More ]

Sebastian VollmerApr 17 08:42p

New England Patriots OG Logan Mankins said OT Sebastian Vollmer (leg) has looked good this offseason while he recovers from the broken leg he suffered during the 2013 season.

Chris SneeApr 17 07:32p

New York Giants OG Chris Snee (hip, elbow) is expected to participate when offseason workouts begin next week even though he is not 100 percent.

Rolando McClainApr 17 06:02p

The Baltimore Ravens reinstated LB Rolando McClain from the reserve/retired list Thursday, April 17.

Russell AllenApr 17 05:02p

The Jacksonville Jaguars released LB Russell Allen, WR Jabin Sambrano and DEs Will Pericak and D'Aundre Reed Thursday, April 17.

Chad JohnsonApr 17 02:22p

Free-agent WR Chad Johnson (Patriots) signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League Thursday, April 17.

Brian CushingApr 17 01:32p

Houston Texans LB Brian Cushing (knee) was medically cleared Thursday, April 17.

LaMichael JamesApr 17 10:04a

According to a league source, the San Francisco 49ers have been shopping RB LaMichael James. He finds himself behind RBs Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and perhaps Marcus Lattimore on [ More ]

Mike BrownApr 16 11:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Mike Brown signed his exclusive-rights free agent deal Wednesday, April 16.

Eli ManningApr 16 11:33p

Former New York Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said in a radio interview this week that it is 'ludicrous' to say QB Eli Manning is declining. 'There's been no [ More ]

Sidney RiceApr 16 08:03p

The Seattle Seahawks are re-signing WR Sidney Rice to an undisclosed one-year deal Wednesday, April 16, according to sources.

Dwayne BoweApr 16 07:03p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe pleaded guilty Wednesday, April 16, after being arrested last November for marijuana possession. He pleaded guilty to lesser charges of littering and defective [ More ]

Arian FosterApr 16 04:53p

The Houston Texans may consider selecting a running back during the middle rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft that could become RB Arian Foster's backup in the future.

Chris JohnsonApr 16 04:43p

The New York Jets signed RB Chris Johnson to a two-year deal worth $8 million, with another $1 million in incentives available.

Terrelle PryorApr 16 04:33p

The Oakland Raiders hope to trade QB Terrelle Pryor before the start of the offseason program Monday, April 21.

Clay MatthewsApr 16 04:13p

Green Bay Packers LB Clay Matthews (thumb) said he likely will be limited during offseason workouts because of his surgically repaired thumb.

Chris JohnsonApr 16 03:53p

The New York Jets will use RBs Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory as a tandem this upcoming season and have them split carries. RB Bilal Powell will be the team's No. 3 running back.

Dan SkutaApr 16 03:33p

San Francisco 49ers LB Dan Skuta (foot) is not expected to need surgery on the foot injury that bothered him during the 2013 season. Skuta met with a foot [ More ]

Gus BradleyApr 16 02:53p

Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley watched Georgia QB Aaron Murray participate in his pro day Wednesday, April 16.

Reggie BushApr 16 02:13p

Detroit Lions offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said RBs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell likely will receive similar workloads this upcoming season than they did during the 2013 season. Bush [ More ]

Cheta OzougwuApr 16 01:53p

The Chicago Bears have waived DE Cheta Ozougwu.

Mike JamesApr 16 12:53p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Mike James (ankle) said he is happy with the progress he has made in his recovery from an ankle injury and that he has been [ More ]

Carson PalmerApr 16 12:43p

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer said he would understand if the team selects a quarterback during the 2014 NFL Draft, because he knows the team has to think about [ More ]

Josh FreemanApr 16 12:23p

The New York Giants have agreed to terms with free-agent QB Josh Freeman (Vikings). Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Rolando McClainApr 16 12:13p

Updating previous reports, retired LB Rolando McClain failed his conditioning tests during his workout with the Baltimore Ravens. The test consisted of six timed 150-yard runs.

Golden TateApr 16 10:53a

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate said he thinks he can be a 'more explosive Lance Moore,' referring to the former New Orleans Saints receiver. Moore caught 65 passes for [ More ]

Matt FlynnApr 16 10:01a

Green Bay Packers QB Matt Flynn is expected to compete with QB Scott Tolzien for the backup quarterback job, but head coach Mike McCarthy anticipates keeping three QBs on [ More ]

Rolando McClainApr 16 12:03a

Retired LB Rolando McClain (Ravens) worked out for the Baltimore Ravens Tuesday, April 15, as he attempts a comeback. The workout wasn't a smooth one in terms of conditioning, [ More ]

Chris JohnsonApr 16 12:03a

The New York Jets are sticking to their budget/value system. While they want free-agent RB Chris Johnson (Titans), they will not 'overpay' for him. The depressed running back market [ More ]

Aldon SmithApr 16 12:03a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith hasn't only lost the benefit of the doubt with the team, but he probably won't play with the team in 2014, according to [ More ]

Malcom FloydApr 15 11:53p

San Diego Chargers WR Malcom Floyd (neck) continues his rehab from a neck injury, but his status is still uncertain. When the team begins voluntary workouts April 22, Floyd [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group