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Jets LB Quinton Coples is going to spend even more time attacking quarterbacks

Sure, he's fine in space, but the Jets know that Coples is at his best when he's attacking upfield.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

I was a huge fan of Quinton Coples when he came out of North Carolina in 2012, but I didn't see how he would fit in well with Rex Ryan's 3-4 defense in New York. At 6'6, over 280 pounds and strong as a damn ox, he would've been a perfect left defensive end in a 4-3 scheme. This guy, a living, breathing example of the word behemoth, was going to make right tackles around the league miserable on Sundays in the fall.

I didn't even consider someone using him as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 because he was pretty stiff in the hips and wasn't much of a knee bender. Maybe he could play a five technique defensive end in that scheme, but to me, that seemed like a waste of his physical ability.

Well we all know by now that Rex Ryan doesn't give a fuck, so he went ahead and put Coples at outside linebacker in his 3-4. The results were mixed over his first three years in the league, but he did flash big-time play-making ability from time to time. Coples got better every season and looked much more at ease in space last season. At the same time, some of his best work as a pass rusher so far has come with him lined up inside as a defensive tackle. That versatility makes him so unique.

Now, with Ryan gone and Todd Bowles in as the head coach, Coples is still likely to be a 3-4 outside linebacker, but I wouldn't be surprised if his role changed a little bit. I would expect to see less dropping and more coming off the edge on early downs under Bowles. That will allow Coples to do what he does best, attack up the field.

Sheldon Richardson is suspended for the first four games of the season, so I could also see Coples getting more reps as an inside passer on third-and-long situations. If that happens, the fact that he'll have such an impressive secondary (featuring Darrelle Revis) behind him should also give Coples more opportunities to get opposing quarterbacks on the ground. That's what the Jets have been missing from their outside linebackers the last few years. In this system I would expect Coples to easily surpass his career high of 6.5 sacks from last season.

I still think Coples is more suited for playing in a 4-3 scheme where he would undoubtedly fuck shit up, but I also think you will see him play more with his hand down in a four-man front this year than he did under Ryan. That will allow Coples to showcase his strengths and unleash his inner beast.