Updated, 4:45 p.m. ET
It was a relaxing bye week for LB Quinton Coples, who returned as he often does to his beloved hometown of Kinston, NC.
"The week off was great," Q told me this week. "I got to see my family, get some southern hospitality, some southern food. Everything was great, man, I can't complain."
Coples also can't complain about his last game out of the box before returning to practice this week from the bye. That was the New Orleans game.
"It was good," he said, savoring the memory of the 26-20 conquest of Drew Brees and the Saints. "I thought I played pretty well for the most part."
Pretty well? How about his most well-done performance of the year? Coples wasn't in on either of the two third-quarter sacks of Brees, but he had as much to do with anyone else on the Jets' defense with keeping the celebrated QB and his Saints just off-balance enough to preserve our lead throughout the second half.
The secret? It shouldn't be hard to figure out. Remember the ankle bone Q broke in the second preseason game against the Jaguars? He was back in action five weeks later, but he wasn't feeling himself until 11 weeks later.
"I probably was quoted as saying I was feeling better than ever, but I can say that my ankle was good. I didn't feel anything — no tightness, no soreness, no nothin' — for the first time."
Here's how it toted up. Everyone knows about the tackle of Jason Hill on the fourth-and-inches end-around for an 8-yard loss — tied for the second-longest "stuff" by a Jet under Rex Ryan since '09. Coples was also involved in a Pierre Thomas 1-yard loss earlier in the final frame.
But the key to Coples feeling himself again were the quarterback hits. He was credited with three QBHs by our stat crew at that game, but I have a slightly different standard on pass defenses. Coples was given only a PD on his swat of the ball out of Brees' hand in the third quarter, but I don't score a PD unless the ball has left the QB's hand, and Coples smothered that pass before Brees got any liftoff.
So I gave Quinton Coples four QB hits for the game. Whether it's three or four, it was the second-most by a Jets defender in a game this season behind only Muhammad Wilkerson's five, conveniently coming in Game 3 against the Bills and rookie EJ Manuel, whom the Jets will be facing up in Buffalo on Sunday.
The thing Quinton liked the most about that play is that it wasn't a repeat of his very similar play against Chad Henne and the Jags in the summer — the play he broke his foot on.
"That's the crazy part," he said. "Yeah, this time I came out of it all right, thank God."
And thankfully for Jets fans, one of the final pieces to the front seven puzzle finally appears to be whole again, just in time for Manuel, whom Wilkerson & Co. sacked eight times eight weeks ago, and for the push to wherever we're headed the rest of this season.
"We're rejuvenated, feeling very refreshed. We're excited to get back on the field," Coples said. "We took a rest, and I think we're ready for Buffalo. We're excited about how important this game is, a divisional game, and we want to make sure we go up there and take care of business."
Rex Ryan gave his injury summary after today's practice. Did Not Participate: DT Leger Douzable (illness), WR Jeremy Kerley (elbow), LB Garrett McIntyre (knee). Limited: DT Kenrick Ellis (back), RB Alex Green (hamstring), WR Stephen Hill (foot/knee), WR Santonio Holmes (foot/hamstring), TE Kellen Winslow (knee).
Ryan said Holmes "had a major hamstring injury — the worst one we've had this year by far." But at practices this week, the coach said, Tone is "at a good spot, ready to go. In my opinion, I think he'll play." Reporter Charlie Frankel will have more from Holmes in his locker room news conference this afternoon in a little while. Our full, official injury report can be found here.
The Bills are listing only four players on their first report of the week, but all four didn't participate in today's practice: WRs Stevie Johnson (groin) and Robert Woods (ankle), DT Kyle Williams (Achilles), and S Da'Norris Searcy (hamstring).
The Reed Development
Ryan was not shedding much light on whether he and GM John Idzik are pursuing S Ed Reed, who starred on Ryan's Ravens defenses and was just waived this week by the Texans. Have he and Idzik discussed Reed? "If we did, I'd keep that conversation private and all that type of stuff," Rex said. "But part of due diligence, if you've coached a player, I'm sure you would want that input. So did we have it? I think it's safe to say yes."
The longest stuff tackle by a Jet under Rex was Calvin Pace's dropping of Chris Johnson 10 yards behind the line at Tennessee early in last year's primetime game. ... Coples will be one of the featured players in Saturday night's "Jets Huddle" on WCBS-TV Channel 2 beginning at 11:35 p.m.