Darrelle Revis: Are the New York Jets That Much Worse Without Him?
With Darrelle Revis' contract talks moving on at a snail-like pace, the Jets are moving on without their star corner.
Monday night's game against the New York Giants featured two new Jets cornerbacks in Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson. Both looked solid without Revis in the lineup.
Their performance and potential provide some leverage for the Jets as these talks continue. In reality, how much worse is New York without Revis?
Yes, there's no doubt that Revis is almost the league's undisputed top corner. He didn't earn the nickname "Revis Island" for nothing as he shut down top receivers time and time again last season.
But he's just one guy on a very talented Jets team. In the end, the Jets can succeed without him. Here are five reasons why.
5. Kyle Wilson's Emergence
Last season, Kyle Wilson was one of college football's top cornerbacks at Boise State.
He slipped to 29th in the draft and the Jets promptly picked him to bolster their pass defense.
However, they didn't expect him to have this big of a role this early in his career. The Jets intended to groom him into a nickelback during his early years.
But Wilson has done well as he's transitioned to the starting lineup. His increased workload with Revis out has allowed him to grow at an accelerated rate.
He showed his growth against the Giants as he and Cromartie (more on him later) stifled the Giants' first-team receivers during the first two quarters.
Some holes in the Jets' backup secondary were shown, however, as the Giants threw all over Dwight Lowery and the other second-stringers. With Revis back, Wilson would provide depth at nickelback.
As it stands now, though, Wilson can hold his own as a starter. His development lessens the pain left from the Revis holdout.
4. Antonio Cromartie's Ability
Like Wilson, Cromartie was added to support the secondary corps that is built around Revis.
The Jets knew the oft-troubled corner from San Diego could be just the man to play Revis's sidekick as second corner. The Pro Bowler definitely has top-tier talent, but has lacked productivity in the past.
His performance so far in camp has prompted Jets' defensive coordinator Mike Pettine to say that Cromartie isn't too far behind Revis when it comes to cover skills. He proved this against the Giants, as he allowed only one catch for 13 yards the first half.
With Cromartie smoothly taking over for Revis and Wilson growing quickly on the other side, the corner position could be solid without Revis.
Cromartie doesn't allow the Jets to blitz safeties and free up the rest of the field like Revis does, but he certainly isn't a bad replacement.
With "Revis Island" out, it looks like "Al-Cro-Traz" is the new island receivers can't escape from.
3. The Rest of the Jets' Defense
Rex Ryan has proved throughout his career that he is a defensive mastermind. The case is no different in New York.
Ryan's zone blitzing scheme confuses quarterbacks and generates tons of heat on opposing offenses.
Not only does Ryan run a very effective scheme, but he has effective players to go with it.
Bart Scott ranks as one of the top inside linebackers in the league, and he and David Harris combine to make the league's deadliest inside linebacker duo.
Kris Jenkins leads a talented defensive line and the secondary has talent with Jim Leonhard and Eric Smith at safety.
The loaded defense should make Revis's absence easier to deal with. Although Ryan may not have the luxury of Revis shutting down an entire side of the field, he still has the creativity and intelligence to compensate.
2. Offensive Ability
The Jets' offense isn't too shabby, either.
Shonn Greene is growing into a top young running back that gets to work behind one of the NFL's best offensive lines.
Mark Sanchez showed growth against the Giants, although it can only be taken with a grain of salt. Sanchez should, however, show superb growth in his second season under center.
He also has dangerous receivers to throw to. Once Santonio Holmes comes back after his suspension, the Jets have the pieces to have a dangerous, balanced offense.
Their offense allows them to compensate for what the defense may be lacking without Revis. The unit could pick up the slack if the defense wilts, much like the defense did for them last season.
1. Rex Ryan's Control
Ryan summed up the Revis situation perfectly during the first episode of the HBO series "Hard Knocks."
During his opening speech to the Jets, he acknowledged that Revis is a great player that would be sorely missed. He also noted that he is just one guy and the situation was something the Jets couldn't worry about.
Ryan has shown throughout his short Jets' tenure that he is a brash, cocky head coach that can control his team.
With Revis out, Ryan will convince this team they are fine without him. He will convince the media that they are okay without him. In the end, he won't let Revis's absence overtake the team.
Conclusion: Revis Needed, But Not Badly
When it comes down to it, who wouldn't want Darrelle Revis?
He offers the total package from the corner position. He shuts down an entire side of the field and allows for the Jets to come up with tons of schemes built around his ability.
In the end, he probably does deserve more money than Nnamdi Asomugha even though he's still under his rookie contract.
But the Jets can move on without him. Yes, they are a Super Bowl-caliber team with Revis, but they definitely can make the playoffs if Revis sits out the season.
Jets' fans should cross their fingers that Revis signs, but shouldn't fret too much if he decides to holdout the entire year.