Darrelle Revis will face his former team in the Jets Thursday night. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Each week, we’ll present The Darrelle Revis Report, a look at what’s on tap for the Patriots cornerback. This week, New England welcomes Revis’ old team — the Jets — to Foxboro for a Thursday night clash.
Last week: Working almost exclusively against talented young Buffalo wideout Sammy Watkins, Darrelle Revis had perhaps his best game of the season last week against the Bills, yielding two passes on three targets for 27 yards. The biggest play was a 20-yarder midway through the third quarter that looked a little like a broken play, but Watkins was able to haul in the pass from Kyle Orton just shy of the goal line.
He finished the game with four tackles, including one for a loss. Of the 68 snaps he played, we had him on the left for 23 and the right for 45, and all of those were opposite Watkins. There were times where he was clearly playing press coverage — we counted 32 snaps where he was close enough to Watkins where he was able to get hands on him as he came off the line — and there was what appeared to be zone. But it was all Watkins, all the time for Revis on Sunday.
“He played a great game. He held me to two catches and that was his job,” Watkins said of Revis. “He’s a competitor, competes every play. He got balls to come up and press every play and I [tip] my hat to him.”
Revis played very well, but on the other hand, there was almost no inclination to try and think outside the box when it came to getting Watkins the ball. There were a couple of fake reverses to the rookie — on one in the early going, Revis got caught up in the crossing traffic, and if Orton had gotten Watkins the ball, he would have almost certainly had a big gain. But other than that, on almost every snap, Watkins was a stationary figure, either in the slot or split wide. No motion, no pick plays, no disguising anything. There appeared to be one stack play on Buffalo’s two-point conversion, but on that play, it was Robert Woods who got open after Logan Ryan was picked off and not Watkins.
The one thing that Buffalo did appear to do was try and use the matchup to create space underneath — that is, Watkins would take off on a go-route, and bring Revis with him. Then, another receiver would flow to the open area where Revis and Watkins were previously located — usually either Woods or tight end Scott Chandler. But in terms of trying to get Watkins free from the death grip of Revis, the Bills did virtually nothing.
By our highly unscientific count, in six games, Revis has now allowed 16 catches on 28 targets for 228 yards this year, with one touchdown and one interception
Looking ahead: On Monday, Revis was asked if he knew anything about the upcoming opponent, the New York Jets. He responded with a straight face.
“Ah, I know nothing about them. I definitely don’t. Hope that answers your question,” he said before breaking into a smile.
Revis against the Jets is one of the more intriguing matchups of the 2014 season. The veteran, who spent six seasons in New York, evolved into an All-World cornerback on Rex Ryan‘s watch. But now, he’s on the other side of the battle.
The corner, who spent last season in Tampa Bay before joining the Patriots this offseason, said that when it comes to the Jets, there’s a “lot that has changed” since he left North Jersey. As a result, any familiarity he might have had with personnel or scheme is pretty much out of the window … other than the fact that he’s familiar with the basics of Marty Mornhinweg’s West Coast offense.
“[Brian] Schottenheimer was the coordinator there when I was there. It’s a different coordinator now, and they run a totally whole different offense.
“It’s a West Coast offense — that’s what [Mornhinweg] runs. We’ve played other coaches who run the West Coast offense,” he added. “Once you’ve been doing this for awhile, things look the same, especially when you play against the same west coast offense. Coaches might put some kinks in here and there, or different things in the offense — their little touch. But at the same time, it’s still a West Coast offense.”
Also, he indicated that he’s focusing on his own responsibilities instead of offering much help dissecting the New York offense.
“The coaches are focusing on that on their own. I have a lot on my plate and what I need to do, game-plan wise. I’ll leave that to the coaches.
Possible man matchups this week (with the understanding that it won’t solely be one on one): There are no elite receivers on the Jets, but the best option at this point might be to try and match him against Eric Decker. While other pass catchers have emerged as favorites of quarterback Geno Smith (rookie tight end Jace Amaro actually leads New York in receptions), the Decker-Revis matchup might be a good one, if Belichick and the Patriots are inclined to try and utilize Revis in the man-on-man coverage he’s been doing the last two weeks.
Decker is a 6-foot-3, 206-pounder out of the University of Minnesota who made his bones the last two seasons catching passes from Peyton Manning in Denver. (He had 85 catches and 1,064 yards in 2012 and 87 catches and 1,288 last season.) He’s struggled with a hamstring injury, but has still 20 catches for 258 yards and three touchdowns through six games with the Jets this year.
Problem is they have the least effective passing game in the league. Smith and Michael Vick average a 55.5 completion rate between them, 31st in the league. The Jets’ passer rating is 67.4, also 31st. New York also averages the fewest yards per attempt (5.6) and the seven picks are tied for third-worst in the NFL. (They’re only one of three teams in the league to have more interceptions than touchdown passes.) Not that it matters, but Smith is expected to start Thursday against the Patriots.
This is Revis second career game against the Jets, and his second against Smith. In the 2013 clash with New York at MetLife Stadium, he finished with one tackle in an 18-17 loss to New York.
Money quotes: “A little sick to my stomach.” — Ryan on how it makes him feel watching Revis in a New England uniform
“He’s one of the best, if not the best. It’s going to be, if we have one-on-one matchups at all, it’s going to be tough.” — Decker on Revis
One more thing: If Revis and the Patriots can win Thursday, the Ravens will be the only remaining AFC team he has never beaten.