Coples ready to make linebacker switch

May, 2, 2013
5/02/13
6:00
PM ET
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Rushing from the defensive line as a rookie last season, Quinton Coples led the Jets in sacks with 5 1/2.

In the fall, when he will transition to a pass-rushing outside linebacker, Coples expects bigger and better things in his sophomore campaign.

"Definitely," Coples said. "I definitely feel like I have to go out and make a lot more plays than I did last year, being that I mastered the playbook and got a year of experience under my belt, I definitely think coming from the outside will definitely help me in my technique and things of that nature."

Coples confirmed Thursday he's switching to outside linebacker and is excited to play his new position. After weighing 290 lbs. last year as a defensive end in a 3-4 scheme, Coples is down to 285 lbs and said he expects to be play between 280-285 this season.

"I feel good," Coples said of the switch. "I think it's definitely going to open up more opportunities for me to get to the quarterback and also show my athleticism and drop into coverage."

The Jets informed Coples, their first-round pick in 2011, of the switch Monday, following the conclusion of the NFL Draft. While the Jets added defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson to their line, giving them three first-round defensive line picks in the past three seasons, Coples said that didn't play a role in his move.

Coples has trained as an outside linebacker before. He did some preparation heading into the 2011 draft in case teams viewed him as an outside rusher, as well as with the Jets last spring. So far, Coples said the transition has gone well.

One of the biggest adjustments he said will be tackling in space, as he now will have to be a factor down the field in tracking down receivers and backs. He's also been working on dropping into coverage, another added responsibility.

He expects this is going to be a more permanent move.

"We got depth at the d-line position," Coples said. "I think it would be more of a permanent job than a back-and-forth thing, but you never know. A package could come up where I play defensive line as well. Either way, I'll be prepared."

By moving Coples to the outside, the Jets will now be able to create more packages utilizing all of their recent first-round picks, including Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson. Had the Jets kept Coples on the line, it could've created some difficulty in finding ways to utilize all their talents at once.

A consistent pass rush has been a problem for the Jets lately, but Coples is confident about the talent the Jets have up front.

"Expectations are very high, each and every year we want to get better," Coples said. "As a defensive front we are working to get more sacks and more defensive plays on the line."

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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