Darrelle Revis: Impact of Injury on New York Jets' 2012 Season
Rex Ryan and the Jets confirmed the news in a press conference Monday, and the head coach made it clear that losing Revis is a serious issue, but one that the team can recover from if handled properly (via ESPN):
Is it a major blow when you lose a great player like Darrelle Revis? Of course, absolutely it is...But this is a football team.
It is Ryan's job to sound optimistic about the loss of Revis, but it is a huge blow for the 2012 season. Let's examine how the Revis injury impacts both the defensive unit and the team's fortunes overall moving forward.
Defensive Adjustments Incoming
Revis was far and away the best defensive player in all of football before his injury thanks to his unique ability to eliminate any opposing team's No. 1 receiver with relative ease.
Revis' ability to shut down anyone allowed Ryan to send exotic blitzes and focus on shutting down other players, whereas other teams typically have to have a safety help their No. 1 corner instead of roaming the field.
With Revis gone, Ryan is going to have to blitz more than ever, and actually have to help his top two corners, Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson, instead of keying on the run game or other players.
Pass Rush Exposed
This massive adjustment to defensive schematics will further expose the invisible pass rush the Jets currently field each week.
They blitzed Roethlisberger on 15 of his 34 drop-backs (according to Pro Football Focus). He posted a 114.1 passer rating on 19 drop-backs where he was not blitzed and a 137.5 passer rating when the Jets opted to blitz.
Clearly the Jets' ability to apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks has simply not been there so far, and things will only get worse with Revis gone.
Who Steps Up?
With the Jets having to send more blitzes, the aforementioned duo of Cromartie and Wilson will be left alone with opposing team's best receivers.
Not to take away from either defensive back, but they are not Revis, and eventually the receivers will find a way to get open.
Ryan believes Cromartie is a No. 1 cornerback, and made that very clear in the press conference announcing the Revis injury:
We're fortunate because we've got the best in the league in Darrelle and we also have a No. 1 corner in Cromartie...I'm confident in Kyle.
While Cromartie is no slouch, he is battling nagging injuries and is no where near Revis' skill level. He's physical, but teams will have a field day picking on him, second-year player Wilson and whoever else the Jets decide to drop back into coverage.
Season in Jeopardy?
The Jets currently stand at 2-1 and are atop the AFC East, but with Revis' season ending prematurely, it could be a short stay at the top.
Can the Jets make the postseason without Darrelle Revis?
Being in the AFC East means two matchups against Tom Brady without Revis, and the remaining schedule is not kind in terms of opposing quarterbacks with matchups looming against Matt Schaub, Philip Rivers and more.
All hope is not lost, but the Jets are going to have to adjust fast. The pass-rush has been a joke so far, and could be even worse without Revis.
Teams feared the Jets before the injury, but now offenses could have a field day against what is suddenly a mediocre looking unit.
Now we'll see how great of a defensive mind Rex Ryan truly has without the best defensive player in the NFL.
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