Having hardly used their edge rushers since early in the season, the Jets ran a load more packages with them in yesterday's game. Ironically, had he still been here, this would have been a gameplan which would have allowed Quinton Coples to finally have a chance for some decent playing time. Then again, this approach might have been specifically installed in an effort to prevent Coples from revealing too much about the Jets gameplan to his new team.
In this game, the Jets ran multiple packages with Lorenzo Mauldin and Mike Catapano as the two pass rushing ends. Both had more pass rush reps yesterday than Coples has in any game this season. As I said last week, it's difficult to know whether to classify Catapano as an end or a linebacker, but here he actually lined up several times as a middle linebacker in passing situations and dropped into coverage several times. That's not something he's ever done before at the NFL level.
Mauldin responded with a sack and a fumble recovery and Catapano had one quarterback hit and a couple of pressures, but actually their pass rushing production was pretty disappointing and there were a lot of plays where Ryan Tannehill had plenty of time. You have to wonder how Coples himself would have produced if given the same assignments.
While the obvious narrative is that Coples was not a fit within the Jets defense and media sources are keen to slap themselves on the back about the position change they always said was doomed to fail, the reality is that there never really was much of a position change. He just stopped getting reps in pass rush situations.
Now he's in Miami playing pretty much the exact same role he was before. In a limited rotational role, he beat James Carpenter into the backfield leading to a sack, drew a Breno Giacomini hold to negate a big pass play, got in on a tackle in the backfield and hit Fitzpatrick once. It was one of his most disruptive games of the season but not, as the media (and he himself) would attribute it to, because he was returning to his natural defensive end position. The Dolphins just let him eat; that's all.
Other than his sack, which came after a fumbled snap, Mauldin almost got to Tannehill low on the play where he was intercepted. He did miss a tackle on a draw play though, although that did slow up the runner on third and long. Catapano also pushed his man into the quarterback as that intercepted pass was released. He did give up a first down in coverage.
Also on the outside, Calvin Pace had a quiet day, but made a play in coverage and was in on a run stop. Trevor Reilly saw some rare action on the outside too.
The rotation on the inside was interesting too, as Demario Davis - who usually plays every snap - split time with Erin Henderson. Any thought that Henderson would immediately fix the issues Davis has been having was soon dispelled when he left a halfback completely uncovered in the flat for a 17-yard gain. He also gave up one other first down in coverage and missed two tackles, but did stuff one run and also broke up a pass with a hit.
Davis seemed to respond well to the reduced role, with a tackle for loss on a pass to the flat and another good coverage play. However, he overpursued twice and gave up three first downs in coverage, although one was negated by a penalty. Davis still seemed to be very vocal with an active role in leadership, but you wonder if that falls on deaf ears when the rest of the team know he himself hasn't been performing well.
David Harris seemed unaffected by the rotation alongside him, as he had a non-eventful day. He made a good open field tackle after a short pass and was in on one run stuff. He did get blocked out on a screen pass though.
Next up…With no Darrelle Revis, the Jets secondary held up well in the first half, but the cracks started to show down the stretch…