Darrelle Revis: Most Valuable Patriot. (Jared Wickerham/ Getty Images)
Wednesday morning on Middays with MFB, Lou Merloni, Christian Fauria and Tim Benz debated who is the 2014 Patriots MVP, with Lou taking Tom Brady, Christian going with Rob Gronkowski and Tim making the case for Darrelle Revis.
Smart as those guys are, they’re smart enough to know they needed to bring in much, much smarter people to make their cases for them. Merloni’s phone-a-friend was Gerry Callahan, who surprisingly seems to be gaining ground on me in the Brady Man-crush Derby, something I never thought possible. Fauria got an assist from ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, who made a decent if not convincing argument for Gronk. And Benz, demonstrating that he’s the wisest of the Three Wise Men, called me.
That’s right. I — who have a sincere, powerful and, in my therapist’s words, dangerously self-destructive appreciation for Brady and Gronk and what they bring to the Patriots — agree with Tim that the Most Valuable Patriot this year has been Darrelle Revis.
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I don’t come by this conclusion easily. But allow me to jab you as I did MFB with The Razor Sharp Thorn of Truth on this:
- The Patriots have made one significant personnel change from last year to this, and it was Revis. Yes, you can make a case for Brandon Browner, but he missed six full games this season.
- In 2013 the Patriots defense gave up the seventh-most yards in the NFL and the 23rd-most points. While those numbers are not terrible, this was largely a middle-of-the-pack D that was helpless against the Broncos in the AFC championship game. This year the Pats have improved to 16th in yards and have given up the eighth-fewest points, which actually is fewer than supposedly elite defenses like San Francisco and Cincinnati. And those numbers should improve as the end the season against the Jets and Bills, two of the weaker offenses they’ll face this year.
- The Patriots defense is nails in the second half of games. Facing arguably the toughest stretch of opposing offenses any D has faced in the league all season, the Pats haven’t given up a second-half touchdown since the Indy game five weeks ago and haven’t given up a second half point since the measly field goal Green Bay put up managed against them three games ago.
- Opposing quarterbacks have targeted Darrelle Revis 74 times this year. They’ve completed only 50 percent of those passes, for two touchdowns. Their combined passer rating when they throw at Revis is 68.7.
- To put that in perspective (as I told the guys on air) that puts all opposing QBs who attempt passes at Revis just behind Geno Smith (69.8) and just ahead of Michael Vick (68.3).
And that is the best case I can make for Revis. He has faced a murderer’s row of QBs that includes Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Phillip Rivers, and he’s turned them into Jets quarterbacks. And in doing so, he’s galvanized an otherwise fairly competent New England defense and made it championship caliber. With all due respect to Brady and Gronk, we’ve learned all too harshly the lesson of what can happen to a team when the world’s greatest passer and the game’s best tight end don’t have a Super Bowl-worthy defense. And for that, Darrelle Revis is your Patriots MVP.
Here’s the audio of the segment. (I apologize for being a little off in my numbers. But drive time co-host’s brains don’t start working until 1:55 at the earliest. The exact numbers are correct above.)