The Rundown: Frustration with Coples seems overblown

Brian Bassett, TheJetsBlog.com

Whether the opinion is right or wrong, it’s always going to make headlines when a former great with ties to his old team publicly criticizes a current player on the roster.  According to Brian Costello of the NY Post, here’s what Joe Klecko had to say about DE/OLB Quinton Coples.

The Jets great took down a current Jet on the radio Friday. Klecko, appearing on WFAN, criticized outside linebacker Quinton Coples.

“A little bit of the time he looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane,” Klecko said.

[…]

“Sometimes [Coples] gets out there and does things that are unbelievable. Well, you need to go out there and stick your nose in there every time and make sure everybody knows you’re there. I think he has a lot to learn,” Klecko said.

Klecko isn’t the only one questioning Coples’ game apparently.  Rich Cimini wrote on ESPN NY Sunday that, the organization has had issues with Coples’ progress as well.

Coples has tested the patience of the coaches from the day he arrived, giving inconsistent effort. The talent is obvious, which explains the frustration level in the organization. He finished last season on an upswing (3.5 sacks in the last five games), so maybe he turned a corner.

coplesCoples is a mountain of a man and his physical gifts are incredible.  It is understandable why coaches would want more effort from him, his sheer size should allow him to do things that other players just can’t.

That said, it’s not as if Coples didn’t contribute over his time with the Jets and it seems unfair to bash him in this way.  Pro Football Focus ranked Coples quite well, given his role. As a pass rusher, Coples was excellent his rookie year ranking 5th among 3-4 defensive ends.  His pass-rush production dropped precipitously as a second year player in 2013, mostly due to the Jets forcing Coples into the OLB spot (where he ranked 32nd) for much of the season because of Sheldon Richardson’s presence on the line.  While reaching the passer wasn’t easy for Coples, he did become more successful as the season wore on and he was still successful in other roles.  Coples was one of the best run-stopping 3-4 DE/OLBs in the league in 2013, ranking 7th at the position.  This compared to Calvin Pace’s ranking of 25th, a historical strength for Pace that is obviously fading.

Coples is in the unique and unlucky position of having been drafted between Mohammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson.  It’s a blessing and a curse.  It makes sense why some might criticize his play in comparison, but on the whole it’s our opinion that the perception of Coples suffers from being relegated to the line’s “garbage man” in 2013 and a positional switch which wasn’t easy.

UPDATE: Cheers to the many of you in the comments who mentioned something I completely overlooked.  Coples returned early from a broken leg suffered during training camp.  Coples pushed his return and it is more than fair to say that his play was effected.




88 comments
bharper42
bharper42

i'm hard on coples i thought it was a bad pick but what can you do.  I know he sets the edge, and run stopper etc etc but i just don't like him.  He seems to disappear a lot during games.  And I can only remember him ever making a big play once every 3 weeks or so.  but that's just me.


i'm not in favor of reducing his role, changing his role, benching, trading or whatever.  but if he's best in a 4-3 go 4-3 and you'll have a great DL and mitigate the LB situation some.


Just seems that Rex keeps drafting these defensive players that he likes but aren't totally right for his scheme.


glad idzik is drafting now.  


I would trade him if offered but only for a really high pick.

kniff
kniff

The Bart Scott (must read) article from a couple of months ago really helped me understand the intricacies, and interrelated movements of the front seven... the slightest shift or nuance in the play as well as the variations of assignments, can alter the so called "stats" to misleading conclusions many times...


In other words, don't F with my Coples!!!

Ceifus Hornswoggle
Ceifus Hornswoggle

He's the least of our worries.  Until the offense can consistently put up more than 12 points a game, I don't want to hear any nit picking over the defensive line.  Who cares how many sacks Coples gets?  If he gets 1 or 12, it won't make much difference next year.  Talk about going to the doctor about your scrapped knee when your real problem is late stage HIV...

dobermite
dobermite

I think Klecko knows that this guy has all of the tools to be great, so for this particular player, pretty good, good or even very good if not good enough, thats underachieving, this guy should be one of the ten best defensive players in all of football, his God Given ability and natural gifts are that amazing. I'm pretty sure thats what Klecko is getting at.

j_spikett
j_spikett

i would love to trade coples for a couple of draft picks but who would take him?

Pat d
Pat d

nickballs

Klecko and Namath can say what they like as far as I'm concerned

Tequila Joe
Tequila Joe

Maybe they should check Coples' uric acid levels. A guy on my flag football team who is a great athlete was getting tired way to quick. Nobody could really understand why, he looks like he's in great shape. He found out later he had very high uric acid levels and it was responsible for decreasing the amount of nitric oxide in his body. Low NO resulted in loss of energy. With this said he's still a beast and probably the best player on my flag football team...Still, sometimes when I see Coples he has this expression on his face that I've seen from my teammate on more than one occasion. Just a thought...maybe it a physical thing not a mental or effort thing...

nickballs
nickballs

Klecko and Namath do like to take shots at the team...and for that, they can F themselves...tired of hearing the cheap shots from our former players......i rarely if ever hear other teams deal with same thing.....calling out Coples is one thing, but saying Wilkerson doesnt give max effort is pretty crappy ....the kid sure looks to be busting his rear end every play...but hey, JOe knows right...and im sure bunch of people on here will be in his corner...because "oh he made pro bowl at 3 diff positions...blah blah blha blah..."

idzik4real
idzik4real

i just don't see why ryan won't go to a 4-3 defense. with a starting 4 of coples, richardson, snacks, and wilkerson. and rotating in ellis and douzable to keep guys fresh. at 18, i'd pick mosley from bama to play MLB for the next 8 yrs, use d. davis at the WLB and Pace at SLB. that is a fierce front 7. i left out harris because he's slow and needs to be phased out. i'd go to battle with the CBs we have now unless we can add one in round 3 or 4. i'd go WR with our 2nd rounder on latimer, moncrief or robinson. then i'd go TE with 3rd or a 4th rd pick. the other 4th rounders i'd use on OLs. 

ganggrncap
ganggrncap

Off topic but ESPN-C is airing the 83' draft, the year of O'Brien

idothis2
idothis2

at this point coples needs to have an 8+ sack season, which i guess isn't an unreasonable expectation and he is capable of it i think health permitting. brees cost him a few sacks in that saints game.

bob
bob

Curious to hear what Rex has to say about Klecko's comment.


To put things into perspective. The hole defense was on the field way to much. Did the d slow down a little 3/4 of the way through the season. I heard whispers.


Q  broke his foot and  is playing a new position. And yet his presence on the field makes the Jets a better team . Pic your poison.




Disgruntled Jets Fan
Disgruntled Jets Fan

The critics should maybe focus on those that truly derve it, like Winters.

Mark Phelan
Mark Phelan

So much for the best player available credo.


Coples does NOT belong as an OLB.  Will the Jets see it this year, or will it take longer?


The Jets are way too top heavy with DL talent.  2 starters at NT.  3 for the other 2 DE positions.


Meanwhile, our linebackers and safeties are near worthless at pass defense.


Does this suggest anything?

marcus81
marcus81

Jones has had a better career so far and seems to be more consistent, Coples will probably have a career year before he is due for FA, it's how it works, and he will be overpaid, just making a comparison of both players since Jets had the option to draft Jones too.

dobermite
dobermite

Just to put a number on it, IMO this player should have no less than 15 Sacks in a single season provided he stays healthy and plays in all 16 Games, and the rest of the time he should be harassing QB's with hurries on a weekly basis. In other words, Quinton Coples should be an ELITE PASS RUSHER and Klecko knows it.

Bent
Bent moderator

@j_spikett  Why do so many Jets fans want to take the best defensive line in the NFL and make it worse?

Bent
Bent moderator

@Tequila Joe  


They should - if there was a shred of evidence at all that Coples gets tired and slows down at the end of games.  However, there isn't.  He made plays in the fourth quarter all year and played a higher percentage of the snaps as the season went along.

j_spikett
j_spikett

@nickballs  the two joes have done a lot more for this franchise than coples ever has. i think they have a right to speak their mind. they are part of the jets family.

marcus81
marcus81

@Disgruntled Jets Fan Winters was a 3rd rounder, Winters improved towards the end of the year, although 3rd rounders should not start right away

Bent
Bent moderator

@Mark Phelan  He's not an OLB.  He's a rush linebacker, which is basically a defensive end with the option to sometimes not put his hand in the dirt (not an option he took very often).


That's that solved.

Steven Windeler
Steven Windeler

@Mark Phelan Care to back that up with some insight from the film you watched? What is it that Coples can't do well?

Brendan
Brendan

@Mark Phelan  Hey Rex, you should probably move Coples back to DE. A couple of random internet people think you're wrong. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@marcus81  Chandler Jones?  Consistent?


He's a talented player, but he's not really that consistent.  

First 9 games of 2013: 10 sacks.  Last 9 games: 3 sacks


First 8 games of 2012: 6 sacks, 8 hits, 20 pressures

Last 8 games of 2012: 0 sacks, 1 hit, 8 pressures

buckets
buckets

@marcus81  Why are you comparing two players who play different positions in different schemes?  

Tequila Joe
Tequila Joe

@Bent @Tequila Joe  They should still check it out...Maybe he would have made more plays. My teammate is a ball hawk and like I said the best player on our team. Still, I noticed his expression and he looked tired but you couldn't tell by his production. He is still struggling with this ailment but like I said he's still a beast and the best player on our team. I wonder what he' be like if he was 100%. 

idzik4real
idzik4real

@Brendan @idzik4real  i guess the thing i wonder is if coples is better with his hand in the dirt because he gets his hands on the tackle in a heartbeat and can use his strength primarily.

Mark Phelan
Mark Phelan

@Bent @Mark Phelan  As you know I am not a frequent participant in chat - although I visit site almost every day.  It is clear that opinions are reserved for the elite who watch films and judge performance based on where the defensive player has his hand when the ball is snapped.


What I see is the Coples, wherever his hand wad, dirt or not, is not the player in his current position that he was in 2013.  


Pull the stats, replay the films....you guys know what you are talking about, so, just talk to each other.

Mark Phelan
Mark Phelan

@Steven Windeler @Mark Phelan  Steve, I watch the games and love to read to blogs.  I have my ideas and opinions.  However, I work for a living and do not have the time to 'watch films'.  I guess your opinion carries more weight than mine.  I defer to you.

Steven Windeler
Steven Windeler

@Brendan @Mark Phelan Yeah Hank is a little random...or a couple of random people.

marcus81
marcus81

@buckets Jones and Coples are DE's, Jets are putting Coples out of position, Coples almost getting to the QB doesn't make him a good LB

Brendan
Brendan

@jake100 If he simply converts some of his QB hits (which he was 2nd in the league in last year for 3-4 OLB's even with his injury and up-and-down season) into sacks, his sack total could jump big time. The guy had 15 QB hits last year, 

Brendan
Brendan

@jake100 Many don't know what to look for. 


In the 2nd half of the season Coples' burst was back. As you said, he's a huge man, but what made him special and what got Rex excited about him is that for a man of his size he has a burst and short-area quickness that is very rare. With his injury, that burst was gone, and he didn't regain it until the midpoint of the season (likely because he rushed back from injury). 


-7.8 of that -10.3 came in a 4-game stretch right after he came back, when he was clearly not 100%. This has been discussed before, but his 35 combined pressures/hits/sacks over the final eight games was elite production. Coples' biggest hurdles right now are staying healthy for a full 16 games, and playing consistently. If he simply stays healthy, he's a legitimate double-digit sack edge rusher. If he's consistent, he's got a good chance of being the nightmare that Rex envisioned when they drafted him. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@jake100 @dobermite  Joey - I don't know how many times I need to explain this to you, but the PFF's system doesn't account for double teams, getting rid of the ball earlier to mitigate pressure or players who beat their man but don't get credit because someone else unblocked got their first.  Since all of these affected Coples' production, you constantly spouting these same stats with no context is pretty much meaningless.


And besides, his production over the second half was significantly better than his production last year, suggesting his broken foot held him back and he could potentially be more productive in this role if able to stay healthy all year.

Bent
Bent moderator

@idzik4real @Brendan  He should be, but I've been pleasantly surprised by his abilities to cause havoc from a standing position too.

juunit
juunit

@Bent @juunit@Mark Phelan 

I could see him getting more snaps on the inside again some point down the road when we don't have both Harrison and Ellis. Then again, whichever one of those guys ultimately leaves, they might be replaced by another 320+ guy who forces Coples to remain almost exclusively on the outside because they just play at such a high level. 

Seeing how his run stopping got so much better, I'd think moving him inside on 3rd downs only might be the best move regardless. And since Harrison and Ellis don't typically play those downs, my future prediction of Coples on the inside is probably totally wrong. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@juunit @Mark Phelan @Bent  Right, he's proved to be capable of and good at both.  It's more a matter of where he has the most value to the Jets right now and with two other elite starters either side of the nose, you need him more coming off the edge.

Bent
Bent moderator

@jdawggg @Bent @Mark Phelan  


Well, in 2013, he was pretty much exclusively on the outside so his results were what they were.  


His overall results were slightly less than in 2012 where he of course played inside more, but then again, that would be much worse in the first half of the year and then actually better in the second half.


And yes, I did break out where he had success from in terms of his position and who he matched up with (ie guard or tackle) in a BGA last year which I've linked below.  The conclusion was he's capable of generating pressure no matter where you put him, so moving him to OLB makes sense if only to get Richardson and Wilkerson out there with him.


http://thejetsblog.com/bga/bga-quinton-coples-edge-rusher/

juunit
juunit

@Mark Phelan @Bent 

You aren't totally off base. I've always felt that he's best served on the interior. However, that doesn't mean he's bad on the edge. 

jdawggg
jdawggg

@Bent @Mark Phelan  Bent, any info on where Coples had the most success rushing the passer?  For example, was he more effective when lined up outside or inside the tight end or tackle?  I guess the PFF stats suggest he was more effective inside, at least compared to others at the positions.  


Personally I'm high on Coples, and of course on Richardson and Wilkerson.  But i'm not sure it will make sense to keep all three once the time comes that they starting getting 2nd contracts.  Coples at rush LB makes sense because Richardson or WIlkerson are here but COples probably would be at best at DE.  

Bent
Bent moderator

@Mark Phelan @Bent  He struggled in the first half of the year, but as we know that was partly because he had a broken foot.  He really took off in the second half and got better and better to the point where I thought he was better than he had been throughout 2012 by the end of the year.  Of course that coincided with the Jets sliding out of playoff contention and then having what proved to be a pretty meaningless late season resurgence, so it didn't have the same kind of impact.  Nevertheless I couldn't be more encouraged as he heads into year three.


I don't mean to stop you from sharing your opinions, I like most of what you're saying and am just trying to help you out.  I grow tired of the misconceptions about his role and the changes therein.  However, that's not a knock on you, because everyone has misreported what the situation is and most of the beat still haven't got their heads around the basics of Rex's system.


I suspect most of the media, having bashed the pick at the time will continue to try and downplay his performances to try and justify that initial opinion.  Kudos to Cimini for recognizing that he'd turned a corner.

BDarc23
BDarc23

@Mark Phelan

You aren't really going to let those comments get to you? The more people commenting the better.

Steven Windeler
Steven Windeler

@Mark Phelan @Steven Windeler Sorry. but you stated your opinion as fact, seemingly ignoring all the information that had already been posted here. I hear this a lot, and maybe I need a little more patience.

Anyway phrases like "does NOT belong" , and "near worthless", are probably not the best way to start a constructive discussion.

Mark Phelan
Mark Phelan

@Brendan @Mark Phelan  Thank you Brendan.  You guys certainly have a more informed opinion than I do - I just watch.  What I saw was a DL (call it what you will) who got in the backfield when he wasn't blocked, and was often faked out by the QB.   I think he is better suited if closer to the action of the DL.  

BDarc23
BDarc23

TJB rookie hazing is alive and well

Brendan
Brendan

@Mark Phelan Well, your idea that he's an OLB isn't exactly true. He's a RUSH, which is basically a 4-3 DE who doesn't have to put his hand down. He dropped back into coverage fewer times than Boss Hogg did last year. 


He's playing an edge position, which he was suited for in the last eight games when he was healthy, regained that burst and became a handful for offensive linemen. His numbers of the last 8 games, projected out for a full season, are posted below by Steven and they show the type of player he is if he's not dealing with a broken leg. 

Bent
Bent moderator

@marcus81 @buckets  Marcus, this will sum up the misconceptions surrounding Coples and his position perfectly.  I can see why you think what you said in this comment is true, but it's so wide of the mark.


Coples played most of his snaps as a defensive end in a four man line with his hand in the dirt.  That was 58% of the time.  He only stood up 21% of the time. 


The only real change is that he didn't play on the interior like he did as a rookie (just 56 snaps as a 3-4 DE, 4-3 DT or NT in 2013 compared with 355 in 2012.  He did still play almost 200 snaps as an edge rusher in 2012 though, so it's not like they totally overhauled his role.


You're saying how the Jets are messing up by playing Coples as a linebacker, but the other guy you named - Jones - only played 28% of HIS snaps as a DE in a four man line.  He actually played 449 snaps as a linebacker.  Way more than Coples.  He also played as a DE in a three man line too, which of course Coples did a lot in 2012 but not 2013.


They're both really defensive ends that move around.  Jones only dropped into coverage 33 times and Coples 25 (which is a higher percentage of the time than Jones, but still less than Sheldon Richardson...a guy nobody is calling a linebacker and with good reason).

buckets
buckets

@marcus81  Anyway.  Time to watch the Rangers stomp the Penguins.

Brendan
Brendan

@marcus81 Coples isn't out of position and he's essentially a DE anyway. In his rookie year he played inside, which would equate to a DT in the scheme Jones played in. Last year he played a more similar role to Jones, but he was hurt for half the year.