Coples on LB move: A work in progress

October, 15, 2013
10/15/13
1:00
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Quinton Coples doesn't have much to show for his switch to outside linebacker.

Coples
Through his first four games this season, he has just has four tackles and zero sacks.

"I don't get caught up in my stats," Coples said Monday. "At the end of the day, I play for my team and make sure I'm doing my responsibilities to make sure we get a win. Outside of that, the stats will come."

Since returning from a hairline fracture in his right ankle, Coples has been off to a slow start. He played his fewest snaps of the season in Sunday's 19-6 loss to Pittsburgh.

"Been doing alright," Coples said. "It's a work in progress. I've got to take it one day at a time and continue to get better."

When the Jets moved Coples from defensive end to outside rushing linebacker during the offseason, they envisioned him being a menacing force off the edge who would complement their stout defensive line. That plan was hampered by Coples suffering the hairline fracture in his right ankle and undergoing surgery during the preseason, and he ultimately missed the first two games.

Coples made his season debut Sept. 22 against the Bills, recording three combined tackles, but that's been the highlight. He has one combined tackle in his last three games and has not registered a tackle in the Jets' last two games. After playing at least 48 snaps in each of his first three games back, Coples recorded just 38 against the Steelers, playing just 58 percent of the defensive snaps.

Leading up to Sunday's game, Jets head coach Rex Ryan and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman both defended Coples' play, saying he had been helping set up plays for the other players.

"If I'll open opportunities for people and that's what it takes for them to get to the quarterback or us to get off the field, so be it," Coples said. "I'm not a guy that's out there being selfish and trying to make every play. It is what it is. I'll take care of my responsibility if it opens up for somebody else."

In his rookie campaign last season, Coples led the Jets with 5 1/2 sacks, coming on strong over the final half of the year. While he has a goose egg thus far, Coples isn't anxious to get the first one this season.

"When it comes, it comes," Coples said. "I've been rushing, having some good QB hits. Some good rushes so far this year. It will come."

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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