FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets linebacker Quinton Coples did not start for the first time this season last week against the New England Patriots and played only 19 snaps -- less than half as many as his replacement, Jason Babin (40).
But Coples expects to have a bigger role Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
"It's back to what it was before Thursday," Coples said after practice Wednesday. "I'll be getting a lot more reps, and back out there a lot more than I was this past Thursday."
We'll see if that is indeed the case. Coach Rex Ryan was coy when asked if Coples will return to the starting lineup this week.
"Sure, why not?" Ryan said, before adding, "We play our players. We play all our guys."
Coples, a 2012 first-round pick (16th overall), had 30 tackles and 5.5 sacks in his rookie season. Last season he had 38 tackles and 4.5 sacks.
So far this year in seven games, Coples has just five tackles and one sack -- although he does have 16 quarterback hurries according to Pro Football Focus, which ranks him fifth in the NFL among 3-4 outside linebackers (behind only Ryan Kerrigan, Dwight Freeney, Justin Houston and Clay Matthews).
Asked if he was disappointed by the lack of playing time against the Patriots, Coples said, "Nah. It was a coach's decision. They made a decision, and my job is to make sure I'm ready and prepared when the time comes."
Babin, a veteran free agent picked up by the Jets this summer, has seven tackles and one sack (and nine QB hurries, according to PFF) in about half as many snaps as Coples.
Asked if he's the new starter at "rush" linebacker, Babin was vague, saying, "To quote the pop-culture phenomenon that goes on with these young kids today, we don't put labels on it."