As the New York Jets prepare for their first AFC East rivalry game in Week 2, they must change the way they use cornerback Darrelle Revis going forward.
Going into this season, cornerback Darrelle Revis was poised to return back to his old self. He worked long and hard to improve his agility and speed, even at age 31. Jets fans were encouraged by his dominance in training camp and the preseason, envisioning the dominance Revis once displayed in his first stint with Gang Green.
On Sunday in a 23-22 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Revis, unfortunately, was picked on by quarterback Andy Dalton. Wide receiver A.J. Green not only got the best of Revis, he flat out embarrassed him.
From @nflnetwork research: Andy Dalton had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 when targeting Darrelle Revis while he was covering AJ Green.
— Kimberly Jones (@KimJonesSports) September 12, 2016
Revis looked slow and hesitant. He played off of Green for most of the game. Dalton continued to throw quick screens and outs since the Jets refused to press.
In Revis’ defense, on the long touchdown to Green, safety Marcus Gilchrist had deep coverage responsibility, but instead jumped the dig route over the middle, leaving the deep middle of the field open. Green took off toward the deep middle of the field, leaving Revis in his tracks. Revis caught up and was in the position to at least make a play on the ball, but did not.
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Revis’ limitations are clear, and have been clear ever since he tore his ACL.
Back in 2013, Tampa played him in a conservative zone defense, he was very quiet, and certainly did not give up big plays or get abused by anybody.
First of all, there was always help for Revis over the top, also opponents attacked the other side of the field to challenge the lesser corners opposite Revis.
Even in 2014 as a member of the New England Patriots, head coach Bill Belichick brilliantly put Revis on the opponent’s No. 2 receiver, hiding Revis’ limitations.
Even when Revis did line up against the better receivers, he always had safety help over the top.
The Patriots always have at least one deep safety, and rarely ever blitz.
Last year, given his strong body of work in New England, the Jets paid Revis like it was 2010 again.
They paid him to lock down any wide receiver the opponent threw at him. Head coach Todd Bowles, an aggressive defensive coach, loves to play cover-0, which means all corners are on an island with no help. He did well most of the year, but struggled against elite receivers such as DeAndre Hopkins and Sammy Watkins.
Going forward, Bowles can’t afford to stubbornly put Revis on elite receivers and expect him to lock them down. This line of thinking cost them the first game of 2016 and the last game of 2015. It cannot continue if the Jets want to be in the NFL Playoffs.
For the remainder of the season, Revis should be matched up on the opponent’s second-best wide receiver. Even though Revis has clearly lost a step, he can still shut down most receivers, except for the top 5-10 wide-outs in the game. To counter the opponents’ best receiver, such as a guy like Watkins, the game plan should be to take him away. They can play combo coverages, bracket coverage, and even double team him in big spots.