Each week, we’ll present The Darrelle Revis Report, a look at what’s on tap for the Patriots cornerback. This week, New England will host the Bears.
Last week: Because the game was now over a week ago, we won’t spend too much time looking back, but in his first game against the Jets as a member of the Patriots, Revis didn’t have anything special lined up on the night. Instead, it was a relative mix of zone and man coverage throughout the evening — mostly against Eric Decker, at least when it was man coverage. In all, it was a relatively uneventful night for Revis, who yielded three catches on the night (one appeared to be in man coverage and two in zone), while adding two tackles and a big pass deflection on third down with 11:02 left in the fourth quarter in the 27-25 win over the Jets. By our highly unscientific count, in seven games, Revis has now allowed 18 catches on 32 targets for 263 yards this year, with one touchdown and one interception.
Looking ahead: The Patriots will host the Bears in a showdown between corners and receivers that could get very interesting. Revis and Brandon Marshall already have a history together (more on that in a bit), but in addition, Alfonzo Dennard and Alshon Jeffery mixed it up as collegians. In the Capital One Bowl, the two went head-to-head and ended up throwing punches.
The challenge of facing the biggest receiving tandem of the year — Marshall is 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, while Jeffery is 6-foot-3 and 216 pounds — will certainly make for an interesting afternoon.
“You just have to cover them the best you can,” Revis said. “When you’re playing against bigger guys, [they] will try and shield their body and try and catch the ball and try and shield you away from the ball. We’ve had our fair share of [covering] bigger guys. The Bengals game, those guys were very big. This is probably the biggest yet, across the board at tight end and wide receiver. Like I said, we just have to try and play through them to get to the ball.”
Possible man matchups this week (with the understanding that it won’t solely be one on one): The Revis-Marshall matchup might be the best and most intriguing one-on-one battle for the Patriots corner to this point in the season. Marshall, who has 31 catches for 349 yards with five touchdowns this season, has gone head-to-head with Revis on a number of occasions, and the New England corner spoke fondly of those battles this week.
“Great receiver, man. This week, we have our hands full in two big receivers in him and Jeffery. We’re looking forward to it — I’m sure he is too,” Revis said when he was asked about Marshall. “I know Brandon personally. It’s football, man. We compete … that’s what we do for a living. We had our battles in the past. It’s great, man. This week is going to be great.”
In all, Marshall has lined up across from Revis on four separate occasions, but the cornerback has usually gotten the better of the 6-foot-4, 230-pound receiver. According to Pro Football Focus, Revis has allowed nine receptions on 23 targets for 112 yards without a touchdown when facing Marshall. Revis also has an interception (in 2011) and seven deflected passes when facing Marshall.
Here’s a relatively good breakdown of a 2011 contest between the Jets and Dolphins that featured Revis against Marshall, a game that included that aforementioned pick against Marshall. (You’re going to want to mute the audio, or at least pop on some earphones.)
As for going against Cutler, Revis has faced him twice, and the corner has been beaten twice, both when he was with the Jets: In a Nov. 30, 2008 contest against the Broncos, Revis had three tackles in a 34-17 defeat to Denver. And on Dec. 26, 2010 against Chicago, Revis had four tackles in a 38-34 loss. He has no interceptions against Cutler.
Money quotes: “He’s smart and he’s big. Probably about 6-foot-4 or something. Very physical at the line. A possession type receiver who can go deep as well and run after catches — he’s taken hitches 60, 70, 80 yards. Like I said, we know what type of players they are. We respect them a lot. We know how explosive they are in the passing game, and we have to be able to stop that.” — Revis on Marshall
“Darrelle Revis is one of the best in the business; has been for a long time. A lot of times he goes with the No. 1 receiver and matches him and shadows him throughout the game. We’ll see what he does against us.” — Cutler on Revis
One more thing: The size of the Chicago receivers could make the Patriots switch things up — at least in the red zone –when it comes to man coverage. After all, New England does have one of the only cornerback combos in Revis (5-foot-11, 198 pounds) and Brandon Browner (6-foot-4, 221 pounds) who are built to handle the size of a pairing like Jeffery and Marshall. If Browner is in a better place than he was last week when it comes to his football fitness, Browner could end up getting more snaps than Dennard.