By getting torched by Terrelle Pryor and the Cleveland Browns, the New York Jets and fans must realize Darrelle Revis is done as an NFL CB.
Only one side of this equation is fearful. Sadly enough, it’s the side the New York Jets are playing on.
Revis is lined up 10-plus yards off the line. With nightmares of Sammy Watkins, A.J. Green, and Marquise Goodwin dancing in his head, he simply cannot take any chances. He knows Pryor’s 4.32 40-yard time is nothing to mess with.
The future hall of famer knows he can’t get beat deep if Todd Bowles calls anything other than a two-deep safety action. It leads to smooth-sailing underneath. If not for shaky QB play from Josh McCown, Pryor’s stat line would have glowed brighter than six grabs for 101 yards.
Revis is no longer an elite NFL corner and we need to stop making excuses for the guy. There are several factors at play here.
First and foremost, the man, while spry in his younger years, is now on the wrong side of 30. At 31-years of age, Revis has already entered the conversation of safety conversion. Keeping up with the youngsters of the NFL is a tough task for guys with speed. Revis — as it’s been so painfully on display through the first eight weeks of 2016 — is now one of the slower CBs in the league.
This isn’t Revis’ fault. He’s an old man attempting to play a young, athletic position. Rather, this falls squarely on the shoulders of the Jets organization. Instead of acting in a reactive way, Bowles and Mike Maccagnan could have, should have seen this coming and adjusted prior to 2016 in a proactive fashion.
Proactivity is something elite organizations in the NFL excel with. The Green Bay Packers did this with Charles Woodson when his age started to show at corner during the 2005 season when he was only 29-years-old. Though he transitioned back to corner for a couple seasons thereafter, his familiarity with the spot had already taken place.
Thanks to the transition, Woodson played at a high level for another nine seasons, up until the incredible age of 39.
Revis has a long way before he gets to that point. He’s just 31, which brings us to the most disturbing factor involved in this discussion.
After a year and a half back in New York, Revis has finally admitted father time has worn on him, via Kimberley Martin of Newsday:
“My body’s breaking down,” Revis admitted to Martin earlier in the week. “Yeah, I am. I mean, not in a bad way. I can still play. It’s just, I’m breaking down. I’m 31. How many corners are 31 right now in the league? The league’s getting younger.”
After undergoing offseason wrist surgery, Revis also acknowledged that he carried a few extra pounds into the season.
“A few,” Revis said in response to the direct question of carrying extra weight.
“I don’t do that no more,” Revis said in response to his Revis Island days. “But I did that for a number of years. When you play Cover Zero on some of the best receivers in the world, it takes a toll on your body. And your coaches have confidence to say we trust that you’re going to shut down this guy that had 200 yards receiving and the week before he had [more]. We trust you with that job. So it’s hard. It’s a lot.”
Could it be that Revis has lost his edge?
After winning a Super Bowl in New England, is this Revis a less determined player?
Whatever the answer is, excuses simply cannot be made any longer. Analysts digging up stats to make his ledger look a little more solid cannot please all of Jets fandom any longer. The eye test rules all. Revis is and has been failing the eye test.
What fans need to do is acknowledge is greatness while understanding reality. The man isn’t a great CB anymore. He may not even be an above-average player at the position.
Through seven games this season, Revis has piled up one pass defended. One. It’s a number that cannot be washed away with the classic “they never throw to his side” line. Quarterbacks, indeed, attack this version of Revis. We see Revis in the picture just as much, if not more than each member of the Jets secondary.
Understand his greatness, yes. But also understand what he now is: an average cornerback playing with no speed and relying on pure instinct who needs a 10-yard buffer when he’s tasked with deep responsibility.
No more excuses. Either Revis recommitts himself for the long-haul at the safety position, or Mikey Mac makes him another veteran cap casualty come 2017.
Just as Revis treated football as a business throughout his illustrious career, the Jets need to do the same in return. His average cap number of $14.024 million just doesn’t fly in this town for the production he’s providing.