New York Jets Imagining the Impossible: Can They Cope Without Darrelle Revis?
I'm not a big fan of records, but for those keeping track at home, it has been exactly 30 straight days since New York Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis decided to hold out. Revis has missed all team activities, and while his contract issues continue to take numerous awkward turns, so to do the concern levels for every New York Jets fan.
Looking back nearly a month ago, I never envisioned this type of scenario unfolding. Darrelle Revis had blossomed into a fantastic cornerback in such a short space of time, and given that he has been able to match Charles Woodson and Nnamdi Asomugha, his talent and progress appeared almost certain to continue to reach dizzying new heights in the future.
Somehow though, it all went wrong, and in some kind of Conan O'Brien taking over The Tonight Show-style theme, Darrelle Revis went from being loved by all, to being questioned by some due to his selfishness and lack of devotion to the Jets.
But while we all continue to let the days pass by and sit back and twiddle our thumbs idly, the time has come to move forward with this issue. Sooner or later, Darrelle Revis will return to some team or another. That much we know.
But is it totally wise for the Jets to become occupied with Darrelle Revis so much, that they begin to lose confidence in themselves this season?
No, of course not.
Therefore, knowing Rex Ryan and the entire Jets organization, New York themselves will feel that they can win just as many games as they could with Darrelle Revis, without him this season.
However, as outspoken and loud as Rex Ryan is, when it comes to the Revis dilemma, words have been hard to come by.
Luckily though, the issue of the Jets defense moving on without Revis was one that Rex Ryan embraced, and more or less summed up the team's attitude at the present time.
"We can get it done," Rex Ryan said. "We've proven it all through the years. That's all I know is great defenses. That's what we stand for. It's not about one guy or one or two guys...This is what we do. We're a team defense."
He continued, "That's why I know our defense will play great. There's not a question in my mind that we'll play great. We play great team defense."
Call him optimistic or call him faithful, Rex Ryan isn't ready to allow Darrelle Revis the upper-hand in this Old Western-style shootout, and as fast as Darrelle Revis is on the field, Rex Ryan can match him in verbal strength every step of the way.
Away from the spoken word though, how do the Jets look on paper without Revis' name popping up?
I mean, sure it is a huge loss to have to deal with, but do the Jets have the talent and experience to continue living the dream that has become recent reality?
Look at it this way: New York did themselves a massive favor in drafting Kyle Wilson earlier this season.
In the month of April, just about every team was vying for Wilson's name, and somehow Rex Ryan pulled a rabbit out of the hat, and drafted the young Boise State standout.
At the time, it really didn't mean much, but boy, does Ryan look smart now. Of course, Kyle Wilson is only a rookie and will need some time to gradually step into the starting role.
However, if Darrelle Revis continues to be stubborn, there is no reason for him not to shine brightly this season.
The other less talked about issue with the Jets defense right now is the loss of linebacker Calvin Pace, who went down with a broken foot earlier this season.
Although this doesn't totally compare to Darrelle Revis' situation, it is a loss that will limit Rex Ryan early season, no matter what witty and persuading excuse he may come up with between now and then.
I think you'll agree with these two men out, the Jets to look a lot more tame on and off the field. Still, don't let appearances fool you. Rex Ryan may say that all he knows is defense, and while he is no Bill Belichick, he does know how to improvise.
Unfortunately for Rex Ryan, that improvisation will have to come fast, as time is ticking. New York have a tough schedule this season, and even though Ryan will sit out the majority of his starters against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4 of the preseason, the real deal is just around the bend.
More importantly, time is also ticking for Darrelle Revis. The regular season is now upon us, and perhaps even the man upstairs isn't fully aware of when Revis will show up in New York.
Recently, Revis has been spotted at a local high school in his hometown, but the scarier thought is that he has been listening to his uncle Sean Gilbert, who once held out for an entire season during his time with the Washington Redskins.
Yes, Father Time is a big factor here. Not only do the Jets have to shift into overdrive this season on offense, they must also make sure that their No. 1-caliber defense remains top of the table this season.
The Baltimore Ravens await New York in Week 1, and we've all seen how good Joe Flacco and his receivers have looked in the past three weeks.
Perhaps Darrelle will come to terms, but it's anyone's guess. If one thing is for certain though, the current Jets defense will not go belly up quickly, as the fight and determination of Rex Ryan alone should be enough to fuel them for all 16 games this season.
Having Revis back and happy would be nice, but it isn't worth worrying over. Holdouts have happened before, and they surely will in the future. Let's hope the Jets don't let this one affect them too much this season.
Ryan Cook is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also an NFL columnist for Real Sports Net and a Green Bay Packers writer for Fan Huddle and PackerChatters. Ryan is also a contributing writer for Detroit Lions Talk, Gack Sports and Generation Y Sports. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter.
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