Thursday, May 2, 2013

Coples' OLB 'move' means little in scheme of things


Front-seven defenders in a Rex Ryan defense better be prepared to line up anywhere -- and to be called anything.

Multiple media outlets reported Wednesday that the New York Jets plan to move defensive lineman Quinton Coples to outside linebacker. In other words, they're just changing his title. (photo: Matt Britt, Flickr)

Coples was often lined up in the middle of the defensive line as a rookie in 2012. But Ryan, the Jets' head coach, made it clear that he prefers to use Coples on the edge moving forward.

The 6-foot-6, 290-pounder has been listed as a defensive end but has played all over the line. Ryan's defenses thrive on their versatility and confusion up front, which has defensive linemen and linebackers more or less interchangeable depending on the look.

Coples is primed for a pass-rushing, disrupt-the-offensive-line role. Now that Gang Green has a pretty stout interior prospect in first-rounder Sheldon Richardson, they can open things up for standout defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson and Coples, as well as newly acquired outside 'backer Antwan Barnes.

Interior lineman Kenrick Ellis could see and expanded role, as well.

Regardless of title, the defensive guru Ryan will put Coples and his co-workers in position to be successful. Whatever that "listed" position is, however, should be taken with a grain of salt.

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