The New York Jets need to consider a position change for one of their most integral players ever. They need to consider moving Darrelle Revis to safety, and the transition must begin during training camp.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis and the New York Jets should consider the move, as Father Time may be catching up to the savvy veteran. Injuries may have been the prime culprit in him slowing down in 2015, but injuries are often Father Time’s way of saying it’s time.
Revis played with a torn ligament in his wrist for most of 2015, and according to reporter Rich Cimini of ESPN, the Jets didn’t even know he was playing injured. In an article publish on March 18, Cimini wrote: “Revis played most of the season with a wrist problem, resulting in surgery on Thursday to repair a torn ligament, but the team didn’t become aware of it until a week or so ago, according to general manager Mike Maccagnan.”
He was also showing signs of slowing down too. He allowed speed threats DeAndre Hopkins, Pierre Garçon and Sammy Watkins to burn him in 2015, and that’s something that was never even thought of when he was in his prime.
Training camp opens on July 28, and it’s time to start the transition process then. Even if Revis can’t make the full transition to play safety all the time, it is possible for him to play safety occasionally in sub packages and corner in the base defense.
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It’s not like the move would be unprecedented.
Many top all-time corners made the switch to safety and were great safeties as well.
The one in recent memory that comes to mind is Charles Woodson.
All of them were Pro Football Hall of Fame cornerbacks and great safeties.
The key skills for the safety position are quick feet, good ball skills, around 4.5 speed, the ability the change direction quickly and good tackling ability. Revis has all of these at or above what is expected of a safety.
Going into camp, according the official website, the Jets will have four of the six safeties of the roster with three years or less of NFL experience. So adding depth to that position with NFL experience would be crucial.
While I do understand that a position switch may seem like bringing in a rookie, if you have the requisite skills most people are looking for in a safety, the transition seems to be seamless. The Jets only have to look to what the Bills did in 2009 and Patriots did 2012.
As Doug Kyed of the New England Sports Network wrote in “Devin McCourty, Jairus Byrd’s Successful Transitions From Cornerback to Safety May Make League Take Notice”:
"“New England’s and Buffalo’s may make NFL teams start thinking about utilizing the conversion more often. Both players played cornerback in college (McCourty also started his Patriots career at corner) and are now two of the best cover safeties in the NFL at a time when the NFL is sorely lacking those type of players.” Devin McCourty Jairus Byrd"
He also pointed out that the hard hitting intimidation is no longer needed in the middle:
“In today’s NFL, it makes sense to take players like McCourty and Byrd, who have the cover skills of a top-tier cornerback, and play them at free safety. They may not be as physical as an
, but with more and more big hits being barred over the middle, the need for a safety who can intimidate a wide receiver is becoming less needed.”
Revis can handle the position switch. The Jets could use depth at both corner and safety. Having a player who can play both will give the Jets an advantage on the back end of their defense. The move may also allow Revis to continue being an impact player for the remainder of his contract.