At a time when most rookies begin to hit a wall, Quinton Coples seems to be getting stronger, at least based off his performance against the Jaguars last Sunday. In what was an overall outstanding defensive effort, Coples registered two tackles and a sack, his third of the season. He credits his experience early in the season when he was thrown into action early and forced to adapt to the league for helping him now.
Most rookies credit a growing comfort with the playbook for their development but not Coples who said the playing experience has helped him most of all.
“It just comes with reps, it isn’t as much about the playbook because that changes every week,” Coples told The Jets Blog. “But getting those reps, getting comfortable in the defense and what I need to do, that helps.”
“The game has slowed down a little bit more for me due to the fact that it is Week 13, I’m recognizing offensive formations and such and that helps the game slow down because you anticipate things better, you can put yourself in a position to make plays. It seems that way the past few weeks.”
Jets fans hope it carries into Monday night against the Titans against a team that, historically over the past decade, has been among the best in the league in protecting the quarterback.
Coples earned praise from head coach Rex Ryan this week and it came with an ironic twist as Ryan praised Coples’ efforts on the inside. After his selection as the No. 16 pick in this past April’s NFL Draft, Coples was seen as an end and had found most of his success in college at North Carolina in the 4-3. Now in the 3-4, Coples is still finding that success using his burst and power to great effect.
“Obviously, his athleticism really jumps out at you, but he is a powerful guy. We always say he’s country strong, and he is,” Ryan said. “What we’re starting to do with him now is we’re mixing him up as an inside player and an outside player.”
That means playing the “3 technique” on the outside shoulder of a guard. Typically, a player like Coples would line up in the “5 technique” and try to get an edge rush to force the quarterback to move forward in the pocket. But with Coples speed and strength, he is finding some success at the “3.”
“Depending on the offensive formation and all that I can often tend to be a ‘3’ from the inside. If they motion or whatever, then I can end up a bit more inside,” Coples said. “I’m not really paying attention. The inside can help me though, definitely, because I’m quicker than any guard in the league it could be an advantage. That can help the pass rush.”
Kristian R. Dyer is a Jets beat reporter for Metro New York and contributes to The Jets Blog. Follow him at @KristianRDyer for Jets breaking news and info from Florham Park.