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How Quinton Coples fits in the Dolphins' defense

The Miami Dolphins made an interesting move to claim former New York Jets pass-rush specialist Quinton Coples via waivers on Tuesday. He is a former first-round pick who underachieved in New York but could provide a spark for Miami’s struggling defense.

Here are some initial thoughts on the acquisition of Coples:

  • The first question is where does Coples fit in Miami’s defense? The Dolphins run a 4-3 scheme that is different from the 3-4 defense the Jets have run under current head coach Todd Bowles and former head coach Rex Ryan. Due to his size, Coples was a better defensive end than outside linebacker in New York. He likely will spend most of his time at defensive end where the team is trying to find a pass rush after Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake was lost for the season with an Achilles injury. Coples has 16.5 sacks in four seasons.

  • Do not underestimate the Coples connection to Dolphins vice president Mike Tannenbaum. He drafted Coples in 2012 as the former general manager of the Jets. Coples has a reputation as an underachiever, but Tannenbaum always believed in his talent. Coples also became available at an ideal time as Miami will play the Jets on Sunday. Coples knows New York’s defensive scheme well and could provide valuable insight.

  • Also, here is a good note from my colleague and ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini: Coples has a fifth-year option of $7.75 million guaranteed in 2016 for injury only. Therefore, if Coples plays for Miami and is injured, the team is on the hook for the full amount in what will already be a tight cap next year for the Dolphins. There are some risks involved with this move.

Overall, do not expect an immediate impact from Coples. He will be limited for at least a couple weeks as he learns Miami’s scheme and terminology. But it is clear the Dolphins (4-6) are not giving up on their season as they try to make a late push for a wild-card spot in the AFC.