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Hill, Coples, Davis Tackle the Rookie Wall

Posted by Randy Lange on November 28, 2012 – 6:44 pm

In large part, how the Jets finish this season will depend on how their top first-year players finish this season.

Which brings us to our annual “rookie wall” story. The Jets’ top three picks in the April draft all say the wall is a non-issue for them. The two guys on defense, top pick Quinton Coples and third-rounder Demario Davis, say they’re not expecting to hit the wall.

And second-round WR Stephen Hill says he’s already busted through it.

“I’m not going to be the rookie to say no, because I did hit it. And I learned a lot from that time,” Hill said today after the Jets’ first big practice of the week for Sunday’s home game against the Cardinals. “I felt it a little bit during training camp and definitely earlier in the season. It didn’t last as long as some of the guys I talked to said it would — they said it could go on for weeks. They also said it all depends on how you bounce back. It wasn’t even physical as much as it was basically mental.”

But now Hill feels he’s starting to hit his stride again, the stride we saw flashes of in the opener against Buffalo and for most of the game at New England last month. It’s time for his numbers — 38 targets, 16 receptions, 212 yards, 13.3 average, 2.2 YAC average, five drops, three touchdowns — to all take turns for the better.

And his timing is good, because as head coach Rex Ryan told reporters at today’s news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center: “This is a big week for Stephen to step up, and I expect him to. I like the way he played last week. He was confident in that game. I saw that just by the way he was running his routes and everything. He’s to the point where he’s wanting the football. He needs to step up big.”

Nothing like a little pressure from the coach. But that’s cool with Hill.

“It’s definitely not pressure. It’s an opportunity to go out there and get the job done. I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “I feel comfortable, especially running routes, getting off certain jams, reading coverages. I’m definitely getting smarter with situations. I’m just making sure I come out there and do what I have to do.”

Coples has also had his moments. His sack total is still stuck on the two he had against Colts rookie Andrew Luck, although he missed a third in that game when he pressured Luck into an intentional grounding. But he’s still been contributing as he can, seeing almost 40 plays a game on defense and special teams, and he leads the Jets defenders with six tackles for loss and, if you throw in the zero-yard runs and receptions, 8.5 tackles for loss no gain.

“I’m good,” Coples said of in regard to the rookie wall. “I enjoy the game of football, which is a reason why I guess I haven’t hit it. I feel good, my body feels good. I think I’m doing well, getting better and learning what I need to know.”

This, too, is good news for the Jets because Ryan, although not singling out Coples as he did Hill, mentioned the need for more of one of “Q’s” specialties.

“We absolutely notice that we have to get to the quarterback better than we have,” Ryan said. “Here’s a team [in Arizona] with 30 sacks. What have we got, half of that? [Actually, 17] It’s a point of emphasis. I know we have the ability to rush the passer with this group of players. We just have to get it done.”

“That’s an opportunity for me to show what I was brought in to do and get after the quarterback,” Coples said. “I’m definitely excited about that and ready to get after it.”

The other Jets rookie who’s been logging lots of time is Davis. In fact, DD even added in a small way to the pass rush when he was chop-blocked by Stevan Ridley in the third quarter on his way to a potential third-quarter blitz-sack of Tom Brady in the Patriots end zone. Davis doesn’t get credit for a sack (there was none on the play), nor even the safety (it’s credited to the team due to the end zone penalty). But that’s fine by him.

“I was just doing my job, blitzing and going through the gap,” he said. “It was a good team play, but it was just one good play. You try to put a string of those plays together in a game.”

Davis is working hard at that goal as well. He’s been on the field quite a lot lately, in part due to Bart Scott’s toe but also because he’s the future of this D and there’s no time like the present to get some experience. In the last five games, in fact, Davis has been in on 344 plays on defense and special teams, which is the 10th-most on the team in that span and the sixth-most on defense.

And Demario, too, hasn’t felt the RW topple onto him yet.

“I haven’t really felt the rookie wall,” he said. “I’ve heard about it, but it’s not a factor right now. I still feel we’re in the season, five games to go, so I just focus on one game at a time. And I took precautions early on to make sure my body feels good and that mentally I can handle the load.

“You always want to be ready when your number gets called. I always try to go a little harder on scout team during the week against the ones, as much as I can, so that I can make practice harder than the games.”

How well the Jets finish is not just on these three rookies’ shoulder pads, but how they fare will have much to say about the final story of 2012 and for some seasons ahead. For that reason, as Hill said:

“I just want to finish this season hard, as hard as I can.”

Injury Picture

Two of the Jets’ 18 players listed with injuries sat out today’s practice in the fieldhouse: WR Clyde Gates (concussion) and CB Aaron Berry (quad). Five others were limited: QB Tim Tebow (ribs), WRs Jeremy Kerley (heel/hamstring/illness) and Chaz Schilens (concussion/hip), DT Sione Po‘uha (back) and LB Bart Scott (toe). View the Jets’ full injury report here.

“I don’t want to get into specific things,” Ryan said of Tebow’s status for the Cards. “Let’s see how he progresses during the week. We’ll probably have a better, clear-cut picture as the week goes on. Right now we’re going to limit him in practice and we’ll see how he goes during the week.”

The Cardinals listed 10 players today. WR Andre Roberts (ankle) didn’t participate in team drills. Seven were limited: S Justin Bethel (shoulder), WR Laron Byrd (head), DE Calais Campbell (calf), WR Early Doucet (ribs), QB Kevin Kolb ribs), RB William Powell (shoulder) and RB Chris “Beanie” Wells (knee). S Kerry Rhodes (back) was full-go, as was LS Mike Leach (back).

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Posted in Randy Lange | 34 Comments »

34 Responses to “Hill, Coples, Davis Tackle the Rookie Wall”

  1. By Jack on Nov 28, 2012 | Reply

    Jets need to start putting some of the rookies and younger players in there to see where they stand in the future. Demario Davis need more playing time let Scott sit for a few games.

  2. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom Who Saw It All Coming on Nov 28, 2012 | Reply

    These guys should all be starting and playing the whole game no matter how many mistakes they make. They’re the future, not Holmes, Pouha, DeVito, Scott and our other slow, ancient LBs, all of whom should be traded or cut.

  3. By By Jet Fan Since 1964 Frank on Nov 28, 2012 | Reply

    Injuries make a difference, I hate this excuse by Coaches and Sports Announcers about injuries. Why does NE, Houston, Ravens among other teams win with injuries? Simple they have depth, they can go to the bench and say “your turn” get out there and play football and manage to win. Be nice if the “JETS” could go to there bench, but they can not. OH WELL!!! Sunday we have St. Louis, “LETS GO JETS”…

  4. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom Waiting for the Big One (the firing of Rex), with special thanks to Peter Gabriel on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    Things the Jets need to do like the Giants, from Mike Freeman’s NFL site piece: “Shut up. Does anyone ever see Coughlin bragging? Or strutting? Or insulting another team? Or pulling stupid stunts? The answer is no. The Jets need to hire someone less yappish who believes in football over trash talk. Hire a football-centric general manager. Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum is a good man, but he was mostly a numbers guy before assuming his general manager duties with the Jets. There is also the fact that he and Ryan pick players together. Coughlin definitely has say, but it’s Reese who gets the definitive final word. There is a line of demarcation. Replace departed good players with, you know, other good players.” And do all this in New York, not NJ!

  5. By IRA on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    Sad to say but its time to start to evaluate all players for the next 5 games and i want to see more playing time for all of the younger players and hope these next 5 games can help them with experience so they are ready for next year. Davis i think will be fine, Coples has all the talent in the world but his motor looks like he needs to be pushed, Hill thats a different story. Thats the mistake they made this year. They never should’ve started him this year [yes the opener he was great] they needed to have a true #2 veteran to start and work Hill in slowly. He was clearly not ready for the role. Hope he benefits over these next 5 weeks.

  6. By IRA on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    And just as crazy as this sounds [i need something to root for] Pitt and Cincy will lose this week and both be 6-6. IF the Jets beat the Cards well they are one game behind. I see Pitt finishing at 8-8 and Cincy at 9-7. Now IF only the Jets can win a few games you never know. Not likely but its something to hope for. Still changes need to be made after this season.
    BTW Pace’s comments in a story about Rhodes on ESPN.com is right on.
    GO JETS!!!!

  7. By SCfromNY on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    Based on the news conferences I have been reading the Jets could just mail them in. Same comments over and over. Yoiu never see the anger at making mistakes and losing like you see from Tomlin and other top coaches. I read where the Cards are similar to the Jets. OK, decent defence that doesn’t step up enough when needed and a horrible QB situation.

    Sometimes coaches and players miss the obvious. It seems we need more sacks and the lack of sacks is a concern. Well Maybin is gone after getting little playing time to prove his worth. The Jets ignored Babin. I guess if Babin played for the Cards the Jets would have grabbed him hoping for some insight. PLAY BETTER, thats your insight.

  8. By GaryC on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    How can these rookies hit the wall,they don’t play that many snaps,give me a break,Our linebacking corp hit the wall three years ago and they are still here.

  9. By ron alexander on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    IRA, excellent posts, I agree 100%. Some quick observations; Coples has clearly lived up to his pre-draft reputation as a underachiever. His 2 sacks are well below other rookie pass rushers like Chandler Jones,Whitney Mercilus(Houston) Nick Perry(G.B).and even Donta Hightower (N.E.) who were drafted after him. But its not the stats that jump out with him.There are just times when watching him you get the impression he would rather be someplace else? As for S.Hill he will not contribute much to the team until he learns how to catch a football. He continues to imatate someone playing dodgeball instead of football? His posisition coach Sanjay Lal has not been able to get him to catch with his hands rather than letting the ball hit his body.

  10. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    It’s way too early to call Hill a mistake, Ira. The mistake we’ve been making for the last 2 yrs is to blame everything wrong with the O on everybody but the guy leading it, our pathetic starting QB. And there’s nothing sad about finally admitting that this edition of the team, from the GM on down, is a disgrace and needs to be dismantled. Fans who actually want to see this team compete at a high level should be glad to see that kind of rebuilding, even if it’ll take a lot of new coaches and players. But people who are afraid of making big changes when needed are losers, so as long as they hold sway we’ll keep losing…

  11. By GaryC on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    Ira,you gotta be kidding,you would be better off rooting for the Hamilton Tiger Cats,Ira,you would of been the only guy rooting for the Redskins when the Bears beat them 73-0 in the NFL championship game.YOU CAN BACK A TEAM,BUT REALITY NEEDS TO KICK IN SOMETIME.

  12. By Chicago Bob on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    Let’s be realistic, this is not a playoff contender. We do not have the talent to compete with the better teams in the AFC. Agree wholeheartedly with those who say to get the kids in there (including McElroy)on a regular basis and see what they can do. This next draft may be the most important one in years and we need to know exactly what is needed and in what order. Fortunately there is so much we need that the front office should have options of several positions with players of equal talent so we don’t have to reach for a position of need. Unfortunately Rex is just like the old man – Buddy couldn’t shut up when he was DC in Chicago and then when he was a HC in Philly and AZ. Despite his failures, Buddy will always think he was a great HC

  13. By By Jet Fan Since 1964 Frank on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    Tom, I agree with you on Coughlin not bragging and always giving credit to the team the Giants play. Even Belicheck gives credit where it is due, in fract most coaches do in the NFL… The Jet coaches (lol) constantly put the foot into the mouths and make themselves look like fools. MS is a perfect example of them making fools of themselves. MS will never be trade material, Tebow should go to the Jags (who want him) for a 1st or 2nd round draft pick. I do agree with most in here it is time to evaluate the young players. BUT, once again we have coaches that will not do that. “IRA” your out look is great but that word “IF” is a big word. Would be nice though. “LETS GO JETS ON SUNDAY”….

  14. By scjoe on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    GaryC, that is exactly what I was going to post, you said it for me. How can a player hit a “rookie wall” watching most of the time from the bench?

  15. By Another Tom on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    It would be great if just one of these three becomes an All-Pro, but all three need to become solid starters. I hope Hill develops into a great WR, however so far it looks like Randle or Sanu are better picks. I guess they fell in love with Him at the combine…sound familiar?

  16. By THUNDER LIPS on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    CAN’T WAIT until Bart Scott is gone.

  17. By SCfromNY on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    Jet fan: You ask how the other teams; NE, Hou, Pitt, Ravens, and Giants have better backups. First they select better players. This starts with scouts and works up to GM. Then they have coaches who can evaluate and motivate the players. The TEAM is first. Even in NE having an elite future HOF QB most of the news is about other players. Lastly they do not give bloated contracts to marginal players at best. Just because they are decent as a Jet it doesn’t make them a great player. And when they pick up an older player, which is rare, it is because of a string of mishaps at that position. Not because they think putting on the Jet uniform will make them young again.

  18. By Tom Spicer on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    Who are we drafting? Matt Barkley USC, Geno Atkins West Virginia or Landry Jones Oklahoma?

  19. By Joe on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply


  20. By GaryC on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    Tom Spicer,that is Geno Smith,Geno Atkins is the defensive tackle on the Bengals,on that note I have to give it to one of our posters who during the draft a couple of years ago kept bringing up Geno Atkins,when people were bringing up his teammate Justin Houston who went to the chiefs,Atkins has become one of the better tackles in the NFL.

  21. By SCfromNY on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    Tom: I would not want any of the QBs you mentioned. I have said over and over to just stock up draft picks, let 2013 be a “planned” waste and start from scratch in 2014. W need so many players it’s silly to think that 1 draft even if somehow we drafted 1rst we coul cure our woes. By cutting everyone and starting new in 2013 we will be bad but with a plan. There will be a good QB in the 2014 draft and with so many teams having SUCCESSFUL 1rst & 2nd year QBs we should be able to land one.

    Tebow to Jax for a 1rst or 2nd round pick??? Jet Fan i like a lot of your posts but we would be lucky to get a 5th round pick. few teams need him, few teams want him, so Jax might get him when he is cut for nothing. To appease fans they MIGHT give a low pic

  22. By Jack on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    Hey Tom who are we drafting for the 2013 NFL drafts. Well for now I have these players till I get more information about the other players that are coming out. RD, 1 DE, Barkevious Mingo LSU or DE/OLB Corey Lemonier Auburn. RD 2 OT/G Dallas Thomas. RD 3 WR, Kenny Stills Oklahoma. You got to give Sanchez one more year But the Jets will needs to build around Mark Sanchez Starting off with the Offensive lines. I would like to see if the Jets can get a back up QB, from F/A and maybe a RB, as well.

  23. By Bennett on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    As far as these players knowing the fundamentals. The will slip into bad habits without good coaching, the have to be constantly drilled. This is what coaching is all about you got to be all over them all the time ” run it again ” As far as the Sanchez play I am still confused, he should have been low,slow with legs ready to dig in for the push with both hands around the ball just like a goal line push. Instead he was straight up with the ball in one hand, dangaling at the side of his leg, moving way to fast like there was actually a hole there. Like he was OJ. Only thing… there was NO HOLE just Wilfolk. I have truly never seen anything like this kid, it’s like he went from junior colleage to the NFL.Great move to draft him

  24. By Bennett on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    Jets win the next 4 against the worst wannabet ole Rex will start up again? How what a great coach he is, what a great comeback, how the team has united… you all no how it will go ” you hurt one of ours we’ll hurt two of yours” Yeah… Yeah … Pats game into your house and just slapped you silly… Fish came in to your house and just slapped you silly… Save it man… meaningless no one wants to hear it anymore. Move on Ryan and don,t let the door hit you on the way out

  25. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 29, 2012 | Reply

    Agree with you on all that, 64 Frank. Agree with you on the illusory rookie wall, GaryC. And while I’m not sure about those three QBs you list, Spicer, I agree that it’s time to think seriously about drafting another QB to go up against McElroy next summer and get rid of Sanchez and Tebow by April for whatever picks we can get for them. This goes with Chicago Bob and SCfromNY’s posts that speak to taking a more realistic, longer-term view of rebuilding this team. I agree with Ira that it might only take 2 or 3 yrs to get back into contention if Mr T, Rex, and the coaching staff are gone, but it won’t get done by way of this playing around with the bottom of the roster, as someone else mentioned today (maybe on another story).

  26. By Charliejet on Nov 30, 2012 | Reply

    Tom 64 totally agree with you on the NY and NJ thing. If the Jets organization is so bent on competing with the Giants – what better way then to call NY their own and let Jersey have the Giants? It is not a cure all but a good start.

  27. By IRA on Nov 30, 2012 | Reply

    Gary reality there is just not enough room to post here. This teams has many holes and problems i am well aware of that. But why bother going or watching games if you are not hoping to win every single one of them. Once that happens then why bother.
    Hey why not Jets 23 – Cards 13.

  28. By russ on Nov 30, 2012 | Reply

    fat bellied def ends don’t make sacks…

  29. By ron alexander on Nov 30, 2012 | Reply

    S.C.fromN.Y, Although I completely understand why you are not excited about L.Jones, Gino Smith or Matt Barkley. However, it is simply too soon in the evaluation process to make any definitive evaluations. We will revisit this topic on numerous occassions in the coming months as the stench from this season needs to be cleansed by the excitment of a new season.The draft will be a fun diversion from the reality of what we as jet fans have put up with lately. So dont get to concerned with draft picks until we all have had time to see whose out there and determine how they would fit in here in Rex’s circus.

  30. By Tom Spicer on Nov 30, 2012 | Reply

    Gary C, You are right (brain fart on my part) it is Geno Smith & not Geno Atkins. I should have known that being that I have watched multiple West Virginia games this year.

  31. By Tom Spicer on Nov 30, 2012 | Reply

    Jets OL coach Dave DeGuglielmo said the new platoon of Vlad Ducasse working in with LG Matt Slauson is “a directive from high above me.”
    Coach Rex Ryan insists the call was his, though speculation is mounting that GM Mike Tannenbaum ordered the coaches to play his 2010 second-round pick. It’s clear that DeGuglielmo believes Ducasse belongs on the bench. “He’s playing well enough to be an every-third-series guy — maybe,” said DeGuglielmo. So bascially MR.T is telling the coaches who they have to play. So he doesnt look bad he is making the O line coach work in Ducasse the Super Bust.

  32. By Mike Jet Vet on Nov 30, 2012 | Reply

    Come on, lets face it, Elite coaches QB’s make players achieve beyond their capabilities, It’s human nature like a child wants to make his parents proud, Problem is around here, no one steps up takes responsibility, To look up to lead,so as children do no disciplined they’ll slack off, until they are punished Ira and Ron these players you mention, collectively would be much better, James Farrior ,John Abraham, D-Woodhead, D-Cruz . L-Washinton all Jets come to mind . If only we have disciplinarians like Little Bill, Tom Couglin, Bill Cowher, Parcells, coaching. and QB’s like Mannings, Marino, Elway. Getting in their faces leading by example,

  33. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 30, 2012 | Reply

    Ira, sometimes it’s better to lose in order to hasten the much-needed makeover that this team needs. Here’s two options for you, you pick one: (1) Sanchez plays every snap for the rest of the yr, we win 3 out of 5 games, miss the playoffs anyway at 7-9, Rex and Mr T spend every day until next yr’s iffy draft talking about how improved the team is. (2) Sanchez sits starting in a game or 2, Tebow stays on IR, and McElroy finishes the season. We win the same 3 out of 5 games, still miss the playoffs, but find out that Mc has potential and that there’s no need to act like MS and TT are our only options, which in turn encourages us to dump both of them, draft or trade for another QB and let him fight it out with Mc. Your preference would be…?

  34. By By Jet Fan Since 1964 Frank on Dec 1, 2012 | Reply

    Mike you hit the nail right on the head. The players that were traded are on the Pro Team. We have a shot at a couple of good QB’s coming out of college this year it’s time Mr. Johnson looked to the future and get rid of the worse coaching staff in footbal (that includes the POP WARNER LEAGUE (lol)). IT is time to rebuild with a coach such as “GRUDEN or COWHER” if your going to pay money out pay it for coaches that know how to win and build a team. I feel we have some good first year talent, but they need good coaching to become excellent players along with new draft picks. BUT, unless Johnson opens his eyes we will remain the laughing stock of the NFL. Tomorrow we play SL. Lets go Jets….

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