OK, maybe the Jets are NOT going to move to a base 4-3.
Thursday, Jets’ second year defender Quinton Coples confirmed that he will be switching to OLB for the 2013 season. He was advised of the switch on Monday.
As a defensive lineman, he led Jets’ defenders with 5.5 sacks. As a pass rushing outside linebacker, big things will be expected for a team that has had many years of trouble creating a pass rush. Quinton, for what it’s worth, feels good about it:
“I feel good,” Coples said of the move. “I think it’s definitely going to open up more opportunities for me to get to the quarterback and also show my athleticism and coverage.”
He is thinking that the move will be permanent:
“We got depth at the d-line position,” Coples said. “I think it would be more of a permanent job than a back-and-forth thing, but you never know. A package could come up where I play defensive line as well. Either way, I’ll be prepared.”
This move comes as no surprise. If you remember, Rex worked Quinton Coples out at both defensive end and linebacker at his Pro Day prior to the 2012 draft. Frankly, I was expecting Quinton to be moved around a bit last year, so moving to OLB is no surprise. Rex, I am sure, is pumped about the idea.
The Jets need to create pass rush, somehow. They didn’t address it in the draft, so they had to figure something out. They loved Coples’ pass rushing skills, now standing him up, they can give him a chance to attack from the outside. He will have to get accustomed to dropping back in coverage as well. He has also discussed needing to work on making tackles in space.
The move is exciting, because this will give the Jets a lot of opportunity to get their three first rounders: Mo Wilkerson, Quinton Coples, and Sheldon Richardson, all at the same time. Leaving Coples on the line was going to make that a bit more difficult. Yes, they could go to the 4-3, but there is only so much space for all of them. Getting Coples on the outside will give him a lot of chances, as well as for Richardson, Wilkerson and company.
It should be exciting to watch all of these guys work at the same time in 2013.