Florham Park, NJ – Drew Coleman has sent his father a couple NFL game balls, but none more important than the one from Sunday night.
It was Coleman after all who made the interception on a Chad Henne pass in the end zone to end Sunday night’s wild 31-23 win over the Dolphins. The victory over the AFC East opponent gave the Jets a 2-1 mark on the season and made them the only undefeated side in division play, but it meant a lot more for Coleman. It might possibly mean a starting job.
Wednesday following practice, head coach Rex Ryan announced that Coleman is getting a run with the first team at cornerback. Currently in his fifth year in the league, now is Coleman’s time to step up and perform, especially given the struggles of first round pick Kyle Wilson. The situations seems tailor-made for Coleman to impress.
“I think Kyle’s struggling a little bit, without question, but I think Drew has earned it. When we put him in, he stood up,” Ryan said. “Both of those guys will play a bunch. We think as coaches that [Coleman] deserves a shot.”
Coleman performed well against Miami and this Sunday against Buffalo would mark just the sixth start of his NFL career; four of his previous starts came in his rookie season in 2006. With Darrelle Revis still limited by a hamstring injury suffered in week two, Coleman has the opportunity to start opposite Antonio Cromartie. The move would allow Kyle Wilson to slide to the inside to man cornerback in the nickel.
He takes the possible starting nod in stride, but Coleman was just told by the coaching staff a few minutes prior to talking to the media about the possible new role. It was still settling in as he answered questions about the move.
“I come in here every day, working and just trying to contribute wherever Rex [Ryan], [Mike] Westhoff and Coach Pettine want to put me,” Coleman said. “I’m just trying to contribute to the team any way possible and just keep going and making sure I play well.”
Coleman said that he doesn’t think the decision is overdue but it’s clear that he wants to be sending another game ball back to his father in Texas sometime soon. He remembers two seasons ago when he intercepted a ball in a game against New England but it got called back because of a penalty. He still sent the ball down to his father.
“I kept that one, it was on Tom [Brady] man,” Coleman said with a laugh.
Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012