Darrelle Revis has been proving why the Patriots are so excited about his arrival. During the early days of camp, Revis bossed proceedings against Brady and his best receiver, according to NESN.com writer Doug Kyed:
Revis schooled Brady and Edelman on two deep passes — one in 1-on-1 drills and the other in 11-on-11s. Revis picked off Brady twice on attempts to Edelman — a connection that’s usually difficult to contain in Patriots practices. Revis also swatted a Brady pass intended for receiver Brandon LaFell in 11-on-11s.
Of course, Revis can be expected to shut down wide receivers, especially on the outside. He's been thriving in that capacity throughout his career.
However, the more interesting aspect of Revis' work at camp occurred during a recent low-key workout with Rob Gronkowski. Revis was chosen as the man who would cover Gronkowski as the big tight end accelerates his return to fitness, per CSNNE reporter Phil Perry:
That's why it opened some eyes when Patriots coach Bill Belichick motioned to Darrelle Revis to cover Gronkowski while the tight end ran routes for Tom Brady in a side session. It appeared as though Gronk's first test was going to be administered by New England's best cover man.
As it turned out, that wasn't really the case. Revis went little more than half speed -- just sticking close to Gronkowski, not trying to break up passes -- and didn't play his typical physical brand of defense.
Although Revis went slow, the fact he was chosen to shadow Gronkowski at all, could have interesting implications for this season's defense. It immediately reminded this writer of Belichick using ex-shutdown cornerback Aqib Talib to cover dynamic New Orleans Saints "move" tight end Jimmy Graham in Week 6 last season.
Belichick could have been watching Revis as much as much as he wanted a view of Gronkowski's progress. The issue becomes more prevalent when you consider some of the quality tight ends on the Patriots' schedule this season.
The team will encounter Denver Broncos ace Julius Thomas, as well as San Diego Chargers pair Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green. There's also Indianapolis Colts duo Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen to consider.
Obviously, Revis wasn't brought to New England to cover tight ends. But given the increasing matchup problems roving "Jokers" at the position are presenting to defenses, a physical cover man like Revis gives the Pats a schematic edge.
It's worth keeping a note of how often Revis works with Gronkowski during the remainder of camp.
There's plenty of encouragement for the Patriots from the early stages of camp. Solid performances from rotational players along the front seven are very welcome when considering the injury situation in that area.
Offensively, White's showings could be the early glimpses of a new weapon opponents hadn't counted on as they begin their annual attempt to find an answer to Brady's brilliance.