Quinton Coples wanted to spend the bye week at home in Kinston, N.C., resting his body and changing his mind-set, transitioning from the first half of his first NFL season into another phase.
But in his free time, the Jets rookie defensive end couldn’t help watching a few cut-aways of his first eight games loaded on his iPad.
He found himself moving his body along with the film and trying to understand why, on certain plays, he didn’t end up with sacks. Coples realized there has been some tendencies, ones he plans on working through with defensive line coach Karl Dunbar. But he also realized how far he has distanced himself from a sputtered start to his rookie year.
“The playbook is not an issue anymore,” he said Monday. “It’s all about going out and getting it.”
Through half a season, Coples played in 296 snaps, or 53 percent of the total defensive plays. There were the highs, like Week 7 against New England when Coples was in on 90 percent of the snaps, and the lows, like Week 2 and Week 3, where he played in less than a quarter of the defensive snaps.
Coples has been praised and criticized by coach Rex Ryan. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has called him out publicly and said he wants more, mentally and physically, from the first-round pick. Though he has not had any definitive conversations with Pettine or Ryan since returning from the break, Coples understands what those demands are. He needs to cause more pressure in the backfield.
“He hasn’t sat down and told me personally, but it’s just being more productive at getting to the quarterback,” Coples said. “So that’s what I’m gonna do.” Coples said he didn’t take any issue to the rigid dips and peaks he saw in his playing time over the first half of the season, but thinks things have changed for the better since the victory over Indianapolis in Week 6, where he logged his first two sacks. It was then, he said, when learning the playbook stopped being an issue altogether.
Pettine had said in the past he scaled back some of the defense while Coples got up to speed. “As far as expectations, I expect to be productive and help the team,” Coples said of the second half. “As far as playing time, they’re more in control of that. I think Indy was a good breakout point for me as far as being comfortable.”
He did not want to burn out by spinning through the tape of the 30-9 loss to Miami on Oct. 28, like a few of his teammates planned to during the bye, wondering why the defense has struggled to put pressure on the quarterback. The Jets are 29th in the NFL as a unit, with 12 sacks this season.
Coples focused instead on changing things in the second half, armed with the confidence in knowing the playbook and expecting the feel of the game to come to him.
“I just want to make sure that I get off faster, get to the quarterback and show relentless effort. I’m getting there, but basically I just want to get to the quarterback so I can help the defensive backs.
“I think things went well from an individual standpoint. I think I did pretty well despite some circumstances, but overall I still have a lot of improving to do.”
Still think this guy is going to be a beast for this franchise.