Every game this season, our first round draft pick Quinton Coples has received more and more playing time. With the loss of Sione Po'uha and Kenrick Ellis to injury, Rex Ryan got more creative last week and restructured our base defensive line. Ryan moved Mike Devito to nose tackle and put Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples. In this 3-4 formation, Coples played approximately 75% of the game against the Indianapolis Colts. During this game, he recorded two sacks, and would have had a third if not for a costly, and stupid, face mask penalty.
Coples has the raw skill to be the best pass rusher on the team, by far. What is even more remarkable is that he is rushing from all over the line, in nearly every position. In contrast to most other rushers, who have one spot and continually rush from there, Coples has been moving all over under Ryan's schemes. While he's not a traditional outside pass rusher in the mold of say, Coples is generally an inside rusher, which can be more difficult to do from a technique perspective, as there are more opportunities for double teams.
And yet, as I watched Coples, there were many times when he easily threw off a double team due to his immense talent. He's still raw, but in my eyes, he's clearly improved whenever he's on the field. As for the "motor" concerns that people had when he was drafted, I simply haven't seen any issues. He's played hard and deserves any extra playing time. Overall, I've really enjoyed what I've seen from this young man.
That brings us to this upcoming matchup against the New England Patriots. I expect to see Coples out there for a vast majority of the game. As a result, he's one of the big players to watch. The Patriots have had some issues with their offensive line, swapping out injured players seemingly left and right. They've given up a decent number of sacks, and as we all know, the best way to stop Tom Brady is to bring him down. And that is exactly what Coples is going to have to do.
My gut feeling is that Coples will finally have his breakout game. As with most predictions, it's simply based off of a feeling. I like the way Coples has improved so far this season, and I like that he's probable to get a lot of playing time. His size and speed are a matchup nightmare for most inside linemen, and I think he'll be able to exploit the Patriots' offensive line. I'm looking forward to watching Mr. Coples this Sunday afternoon against the New England Patriots.