When Rex Ryan’s New York Jets take the field Sunday for the season opener, he’ll be greeted by a familiar face, one that helped his vaunted defense forge its identity and must now be accounted for on the opposing side of the field — Darrelle Revis.
“He’s just tougher than heck,” said Ryan about his former All-Pro cornerback, whom her referred to as the ‘premier corner in football.’
For years, Ryan was able to take his ‘mad-scientist’ defense to new heights, dialing up elaborate blitzes from all angles to create sheer chaos upfront, while Revis manned the back-end and covered large chunks of the open field.
Now Ryan has to game plan for him, with a rookie quarterback who has never started an NFL game before in Geno Smith.
“It’s probably more about how you defend against him,” said Ryan on how the offense will contend with Revis, one of the few defensive players in the National Football League capable of putting a passing game on its heels.
“Certainly you have to look at him different than you look at any other corner.”
To account for Revis, Ryan will be emphasizing a certain set of rules throughout the Jets’ game week preparations, rules he calls ‘Revis Rules.’
And rule number one?
“You better not throw it from the far hash outside the numbers, because he’ll pick it. That’s one of them. There [are] several of them. And Tampa will learn that about him; the opponents will learn that about him.”
His old teammates in New York learned it too when he wouldn’t even let his quarterback complete passes during walk-throughs.
“He’s rare…a guy like him comes around once every 15, 20 years, if that. He really is a special player.”
He’s a rare player who appeared mortal after all last year when he suffered a torn ACL in Week 3 of the regular season, his final year with the Jets.
He was traded to the Bucs just before the NFL draft in April. Tampa Bay forked over a first-round draft pick and a conditional fourth-round pick in 2014 to sign him to a six-year deal worth $96 million.
With the trade, the mega-contract, and the injury, not to mention some residual feelings from holdouts in previous years, his reception in New York should create quite the spectacle.
“I think certainly Jets fans respect the contributions that [Revis] made our football team there’s no question about that. I know how much they respect and admire him. But, hey, he’s in enemy colors now. So it will be interesting.”