- Matt Ciabattari
Revis Resort- Maybe Not So Fast
The Monday after Week 1 of the NFL, is known among many as overreaction Monday as fans, pundits and commentators in and around the league take what they saw on Sunday and lead them down a path of over the top and exaggerated predictions for the season we are about to see. The problem is there is very little accountability for some of these outlandish thoughts and opinions. Ranging from the opinion that Philly is going back to the playoffs because Rookie QB Carson Wentz is leading them at QB to the Oakland Raiders looking like the popular pick to go to the Super Bowl after stealing one in New Orleans. Both could happen, but in all likelihood what actually happens is going to be far different.
Over reaction Monday tends to happen a lot around the NFL, but sometimes these Monday hot takes pick up steam and not go away. One such thought is the league-wide belief that Darrelle Revis is no longer an elite Cornerback. The thought crept into the minds of the media a season ago after the Jets Week 11 loss at Houston. In the game it was Revis who appeared to be missing a step as he was burned on multiple occasions by Houston’s number one Receiver DeAndre Hopkins. As it came out though, Revis had a concussion and once he returned from injury, the story kind of went away as it was no longer “Revis Island”, but it was far from a “Revis Resort” that Hopkins made it look like.
Fast forward to Week 1 of the NFL as the Jets lost a heartbreaker to the Bengals 23-22 at home and AJ Green torched Revis and this Jets secondary for 180 yards on 12 catches with 2 touchdowns with Revis accountable for 8 Catches for 112 yards and a Touchdown. It seems as if from one really bad game all the thoughts and comparisons that Revis so often thrived under disappeared and instead came with it the belief he just is nothing, but a name at this point in his career. There may be some validity to it, but if you ask Revis you would never know, “I can take a punch,” said Revis of his Week 1 Performance. “They’re gonna catch balls. It’s not like I never got a ball caught on me. In that instance it’s just small technique things…As easy as some people make it look it seem, it is what it is (and) you bounce back.”
As Revis and this Jets defense welcomes back Pro-Bowl DE Sheldon Richardson from suspension to a D-line that had 7 sacks on the Bengals in Week 1, look for Revis to match up against Sammy Watkins in this midweek Thursday night matchup in Buffalo. The way Revis plays against an injured Sami Watkins will go along way in determining the elite level that Revis can or may be cannot play at any more.
His old coach in Rex Ryan did not miss an opportunity to pay respects to Revis even at the age of 31. "The thing about Revis is if he's slipped at all as a player, he's coming down from the very tip of Everest. That's where he'd be coming down from…I know the kind of player he is." High praise for a man who coined the phrase Revis Island to describe his handling of some of the top receivers around the league, but has had some trouble with some of the league’s top receivers recently.
The questions remains what next for Todd Bowles and his coaching staff who must find a way to utilize Revis to get get the best out of him?
Number one is continue to force the teams one or two best receivers into uncomfortable positions by pressing them off the line as he has done. Still widely believed by many in and around the league Revis is one of the best at press coverage and his technique inside of 10 years is still one of the best the league.
Number two is he is going to need better help from his safeties. On the 52 yard touchdown pass in the 2nd quarter it was not Revis, but instead Gilchrist who was was intended to provide cover for Revis over the top to prevent the play from happening. A minor blown coverage that makes it look all the worse for Revis. Revis unfortunately has lost a step or two, nine years into the league and when guys have quick acceleration and change of direction he tends to get burned if not accounted for in the scheme. Bowles has been slow at times to make adjustments like this, but he should take a page from Bellicheck’s 2014 playbook as he utilized Revis often on the #2 Receiver of a team so they could go 1-on-1 or use Revis on a team’s number one with safety help over the top.
Of course Revis will no longer be the guy who doesn’t let completions and touchdowns thrown his way all the time, but to give up on the talent that Revis still has by saying he is washed up is just short sighted on those outside of the Jets organization. Revis had his second most interceptions of his career last year with five and on four of those occasions he was thrown at, so he still is a ball hawk who can make plays.
The matchups he face over the next five weeks are quite tough with Sammy Watkins this Week in Buffalo, Jeremy Maclin @KC in Week 3, Doug Baldwin at home in Week 4, Antonio Brown @ PIT Week 5, and Larry Fitzgerald @ARI Week 6, but this is the NFL where Revis is going to have to earn his hay.