Monday, August 19, 2013

McIntyre to 'start' for Coples, Barnes still in mix


Last night, I wrote about how New York Jets outside linebacker Antwan Barnes was in line for a Week 1 start if Quinton Coples wasn't available thanks to a hairline fracture in his ankle.

Turns out, Barnes won't be the official "starter," though he'll still get plenty of snaps in that position. The depth chart promotion will go to journeyman and former CFLer Garrett McIntyre, who has been with the Jets since 2011.

"I think he’s really earned that right," Jets coach Rex Ryan said Monday of McIntyre. "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. So that’s why Garrett was starting primarily.

"Even today, at the end of the last team drill, we moved Garrett to SAM and we moved Barnes to RUSH, so he will get some work there also with the ones."

McIntyre, who stands at 6-foot-3, 225 pounds, accounted for 3.5 sacks and 35 tackles in spot time last season.

The 28-year-old undrafted Fresno State product has prepared for multiple roles in the linebacker corps, and it showed in the team's last preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ryan cited a certain instance that had him feeling comfortable about putting McIntyre in a more prominent role.

"He challenges guys. In the game, we had a corner cover a running back and Garrett had to cover the wideout in the slot," Ryan said. "Never flinched, just got the job done, even thought that wasn’t an ideal situation for us. 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."

Barnes will still get ample time rotating in on passing downs, and he said recently that he plans on seeing more rushing plays than usual in Coples absence.

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