FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Quinton Coples was a fine defensive lineman in his rookie season, but the Jets drafted Sheldon Richardson and seem to have a solid front. So they asked Coples to convert to an outside linebacker during the offseason.
The Jets famously failed to convert one high-profile defender to an outside linebacker when Vernon Gholston started to look like a bust, but this time, it's working out well.
Coples, 6-foot-6 and 290 pounds, said the new job is more complicated because he needs to keep track of several moving parts on each play, rather just focus in on the quarterback.
"There's just so much stuff you've got to get used to," Coples said. "A lot more attention to detail as far as seeing receivers crossing, running backs coming out of the backfield late; it takes away from you going straight forward and getting to the quarterback. It's been a good process, for the most part I've been successful coverage-wise, and just continuing to work on my craft and get better."
Coples said he's been watching film of defensive backs to see how they move in coverage. He's been trying to work some of those techniques into his own work.
"It's more how they read people, when they're stopping people how they're successful," Coples said.
Either way, Coples knows that being able to add to his skill set makes him more useful in the NFL, where contracts aren't guaranteed for the most part.
"You see a guy that can do it all as far as dropping in coverage and rushing the passer, it makes a difference, it can keep you in this league a lot longer because you can be used all along the defensive front."