Ed Mulholland-US PRESSWIRE
If you only look at the stats, you probably won't be very impressed by Quinton Coples' rookie year. When you watch him, though, it is a different story. He is winning his matchups and creating disruptions regularly. It reminds me a bit of Muhammad Wilkerson's rookie year. You rarely see him getting dominated. You see him holding his own for the most part, and there are glimpses of domination. Coples might become scary in 2013 given an offseason to put it all together with his coaches.
In the short run, the staff seems to be taking notice finally. Coples' snaps went up last week in Jacksonville. He played around half the game and responded with a sack and a pair of hits on the quarterback. The pressure he provided also led Chad Henne to throw the game-ending interception.
Now he faces a team with four offensive line starters on the shelf. The Titans are going to do what they can to protect Jake Locker. That begins with running the ball. They also will probably take other steps. After a protection meltdown against the Texans two weeks ago, it seemed like Tennessee's coaching staff made a concerted effort to protect Locker last week in Indianapolis. There was a steady diet of rollouts and moving pockets. The Titans also made fairly extensive use of a diamond formation where a pair of tight ends are split behind the quarterback and the tailback lines up directly behind him. The Titans left a pair of extra blockers in on passing plays out of this formation. These are ultimately the signs of a coaching staff without a great deal of faith in its protection.
It does feel like things are coming together for Coples. He is figuring the game out, the coaching staff is figuring out how to use him, and the opponent might be vulnerable. Maybe this will the game we look back on as his breakout performance.