2014 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

Teddy BridgewaterSep 29 09:47p

Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater (ankle) did not participate in practice Monday, Sept. 29. QB Christian Ponder worked with the first-team offense during practice.

Geno SmithSep 29 09:47p

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan publicly remained supportive of QB Geno Smith Monday, Sept. 29. He said he talked to the quarterback about his incident with yelling [ More ]

Donald BrownSep 29 09:23p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown and RB Branden Oliver combined for 42 yards on 29 carries in Week 4, and although head coach Mike McCoy bashed the running [ More ]

LeSean McCoySep 29 09:23p

Updating a previous report, Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (toe) is not injured, head coach Chip Kelly said Monday, Sept. 29. 'He's not on the treatment list,' Kelly said. [ More ]

Vernon DavisSep 29 09:23p

Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (back) had a 'positive mindset' Monday, Sept. 29, but general manager Trent Baalke said the extent of his injury is 'not fully known.'

Stevan RidleySep 29 09:13p

New England Patriots RB Stevan Ridley was on the field for just one of his team's seven offensive snaps in the first quarter Monday, Sept. 29, in the Week [ More ]

Roddy WhiteSep 29 09:03p

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White said he expects the team to be involved in high-scoring shootouts all year, and head coach Mike Smith agreed to an extent. 'I don't [ More ]

David NelsonSep 29 08:13p

New York Jets WR David Nelson (ankle) suffered an ankle injury in Week 4, and the signing of WR Chris Owusu could be an indication Nelson's injury is significant. [ More ]

Frank AlexanderSep 29 08:03p

The Carolina Panthers reinstated DE Frank Alexander Monday, Sept. 29, after he served his four-game suspension. He won't count toward the 53-man roster limit for one week.

Patrick ChungSep 29 07:53p

New England Patriots SS Patrick Chung and RB James White were back taking kickoffs in pregame warm-ups Monday, Sept. 29, before the Week 4 game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Jarrett BoykinSep 29 07:23p

Green Bay Packers LB Sam Barrington (hamstring), DT Josh Boyd (knee) and WR Jarrett Boykin (groin) did not practice Monday, Sept. 29. LBs Brad Jones (quadriceps) and Clay Matthews [ More ]

Jerick McKinnonSep 29 07:23p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (ankle) was limited in practice Monday, Sept. 29.

Chad GreenwaySep 29 07:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Chad Greenway (hand, rib) and CB Captain Munnerlyn (illness) did not practice Monday, Sept. 29. CB Josh Robinson (hamstring) was limited, while FB Jerome Felton (knee), [ More ]

Aaron MurraySep 29 07:13p

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared QB Aaron Murray, WR Albert Wilson, DL Damion Square, RB De'Anthony Thomas, SS Eric Berry, RB Joe McKnight, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif inactive for Week 4.

Aaron DobsonSep 29 07:13p

The New England Patriots have declared WR Aaron Dobson, CB Alfonzo Dennard, DL Casey Walker, OT Jordan Devey, OL Josh Kline, WR Kenbrell Thompkins, DE Zach Moore inactive for Week 4.

Chris OgbonnayaSep 29 07:03p

The Carolina Panthers will sign free-agent RB Chris Ogbonnaya (Browns).

Tharold SimonSep 29 06:53p

Seattle Seahawks CB Tharold Simon (knee) is making progress in his recovery from knee surgery and is a few weeks away from returning, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Luke WillsonSep 29 06:53p

Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson is expected to take over as the starting tight end while TE Zach Miller (ankle) is out.

Ray RiceSep 29 06:53p

Free-agent RB Ray Rice's (Ravens) appeal of his suspension will be heard by a neutral arbitrator after the NFL agreed to the change. The NFL and NFL Players Association [ More ]

Ropati PitoituaSep 29 06:43p

Tennessee Titans DE Ropati Pitoitua (knee) hopes to play in Week 5 after missing Week 4 because of a lateral collateral ligament sprain.

Bruce CarterSep 29 06:23p

Updating a previous report, Dallas Cowboys LB Bruce Carter (quadriceps) is considered day-to-day because of the quadriceps injury he suffered in Week 4.

Nick FolesSep 29 06:13p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles did not complete any of his 10 passes that traveled at least 20 yards down the field in Week 4, and two of those [ More ]

Chris ProsinskiSep 29 06:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars CB Chris Prosinski and Washington Redskins LB Gabe Miller and DT Robert Thomas cleared waivers and became free agents Monday, Sept. 29.

Tauren PooleSep 29 06:03p

Carolina Panthers RB Tauren Poole was placed on no-recall waivers Monday, Sept. 29.

LeSean McCoySep 29 05:53p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy is not dealing with any injuries at this time, according to head coach Chip Kelly. McCoy rushed for only 17 yards on 10 carries in Week 4.

Josh NormanSep 29 05:23p

Carolina Panthers CB Melvin White has been benched in favor of CB Josh Norman.

Dee MillinerSep 29 05:23p

New York Jets CB Dee Milliner (quadriceps) could return this week, according to head coach Rex Ryan, who said he's confident Milliner will be able to play Week 5.

Jarius WrightSep 29 05:13p

Minnesota Vikings WR Jarius Wright said he created a solid chemistry with QB Teddy Bridgewater during the preseason, which is why he caught eight passes for 132 yards in [ More ]

Tommy BohanonSep 29 05:03p

New York Jets FB Tommy Bohanon (collarbone) has a fractured collarbone, according to head coach Rex Ryan.

Winston GuySep 29 05:03p

The Jacksonville Jaguars released SS Winston Guy Monday, Sept. 29.

Zach MillerSep 29 05:03p

Updating previous reports, Seattle Seahawks TE Zach Miller (ankle) is only expected to miss two games after he underwent ankle surgery last week.

Marques ColstonSep 29 04:43p

New Orleans Saints WR Marques Colston has struggled quite a bit during the first month of the season and seems to disappear at times. He had a late-game fumble [ 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