New York Jets: Quinton Coples in the 4-3 Defense


Nov 24, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; New York Jets outside linebacker

Quinton Coples

(98) against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

There is a lot of excitement around the fan base right now, and for good reason. We have a new general manager in Mike Maccagnan, the John Idzik era is over. We are starting a new day on the field as well, with head coach Todd Bowles. The Jets landed one of the top assistants in the game to run their team. It’s OK to be a bit pumped up for the future.

Todd Bowles runs a 4-3 base defense (four down linemen, three linebackers). That is a departure from recent years, as under Rex Ryan, the Jets ran a 3-4 base defense (three down linemen, four linebackers). Obviously, with a new concept coming, there will be a learning curve. But one guy that should excel is Quinton Coples.

Quinton Coples is in his wheelhouse with his hand in the dirt, in a 4-3 system. With the Jets, Coples has stood up as an outside linebacker, and put his hand down. His experience was as a down lineman, and it showed when he had the chance last season. With the base defense becoming a 4-3, Coples has the chance to dominate. He certainly looked good this year.

We are going to breakdown one of his 6.5 sacks to show you. Let’s go back to week 8, to a play from the third quarter at MetLife against the Bills. Let’s take a look.

On this play, Coples is lined up at right end, as indicated by the circle. He is going to rush the passer, and take on the left tackle, one on one, when he moves back to block him. The tight end flashes across the tackle to block down, and break open for a possible short pass reception (both moves are shown with lines). Let’s look at the matchup as Coples engages with the tackle.

Can you see Coples in the circle? Do you notice that he has his left hand up under the tackle’s shoulder pads? What he is doing there is getting leverage on him. Coples is getting his force underneath his opponent, so he becomes the guy that is moving the tackle where HE wants him to go, not vice versa. He is going to push his opponent right back into quarterback Kyle Orton. He does this to set up the move that puts Orton into his clutches. Let’s move ahead.

Look at this picture, compared to the previous one. Coples has already driven his opponent, the left tackle, across the hashmark, as he continues his quest towards the quarterback. It’s hard to see, but his left arm is starting to push downward as he does a “swim” move. It’s a pass rush move where the inside arm pulls down, and the outside arm goes over the top, like the crawl stroke, henceforth the name the “swim move”. Done right, it gets your weight to inside position quickly leaving the offensive lineman helpless to stop you.

Watch how it plays out for Coples.

Can you see the position that Coples has now? In just one fell swoop with the “swim” move, Coples has nearly half of his body past the lineman, with a clear shot at Kyle Orton. The lineman still has a hand on Coples, but if you look at his position, he is powerless to stop him without committing a penalty.

What was the result?

The result is a sack for Quinton Coples.

Look for a lot of this from Coples in the near future. The system is one that he is set to excel at. If his play so far is any indication, look for Coples’ star to ascend quickly, and hopefully he will become the star that the Jets saw when they drafted him.

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