New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan expects the very best of his players on a yearly basis. During HBO's critically acclaimed series "Hard Knocks," the outspoken head coach emphasized the importance of leadership within the New York community and how important it was for his star players to step up in every way possible.
When Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis stepped out of his holdout early in September, many fans questioned whether or not Ryan had gone back on his word in relation to leadership. During the offseason, it was obvious that Ryan wouldn't budge on Revis' contract issues, only to finally cave in toward the beginning of the season in some kind of desperate attempt to keep his defense alive.
It's fair to say looking back that Ryan made the right move. The Jets currently rank second overall in rushing yards on defense and, while Mark Sanchez continues to throw rainbows to the surprisingly unstoppable Braylon Edwards, they are right where they want to be in the league right now.
But before we get too ahead of ourselves and place the Jets in the AFC playoff picture once again, a very concerning stat arises when taking a look at their defense—one that is fairly unfamiliar for a team that features so many defensive stars.
Prior to the season, Revis wasn't a huge question in terms of fitness. When No. 24 got a mild hamstring injury in the early going though, it was clear that no offseason training had affected his stability, despite undertaking his own hometown workouts with a local high school football team.
To follow on from this disappointing injury loss, the Jets now find themselves ranked 25th in passing yards on defense, an alarming stat for a team that features Antonio Cromartie, Bart Scott, Jason Taylor, and of course, Revis.
Now comes a time for the team to really celebrate full strength. For those that aren't up to date due to some kind of disconnection with ESPN's round-the-clock coverage, fans can do a little a dance due to Revis' probable return against the Minnesota Vikings Monday night.
For Jets fans, this is great news. When the headline first broke, a good friend of mine was eager to see Revis at home in the New Meadowlands Stadium and luckily enough for him, he will also get to see Brett Favre as well as Randy Moss back in purple and white.
Speaking of Moss, if Revis is to play, how will these two highly explosive players match up against one another on Monday night?
Frankly, nobody knows for sure.
As much experience as the two have with one another during Moss' New England days, we all know that Moss can be a very different player from team to team. With Revis' fitness still in question, there is the off-chance that this melee winds up being as disappointing as Floyd Mayweather vs. Shane Mosley.
But in terms of pregame excitement, any return of a big-name cornerback is set to raise a few eyebrows, and it's fair to say that this return could have Jon Gruden riled up and ready for Revis Island to finally be back in full gear.
And what are the predictions for Revis on Monday?
To look at it simply, if Revis is to play on Moss for most of the game, one of the two will come off second-best.
Similar to the Manning vs. Manning game, it appeared that when Peyton Manning continued to dominate, Eli only further collapsed under the pressure of the score.
Fortunately for Moss and Revis, the two are far from joined at the hip. Yet at the same time, this isn't to say that if Moss dominates, Revis won't collapse, and vice versa.
The good news doesn't stop here for New York, as the team has stated the other injured players—Shaun Ellis, Nick Mangold, Wayne Hunter, Calvin Pace, and Brandon Moore—are also listed as probable heading into Monday night.
It looks like a full strength Jets team is a likelihood against Minnesota, so hopefully Favre's mind isn't on his Kodak memory card sitting in his closet at home in Mississippi.
As for Revis, he kept his comments short and simple upon his return. "I think I could play right now," Revis stated. "There'd be no doubt. As of right now, I'm preparing myself to battle against the Minnesota Vikings."
A key playmaker is set to return for New York and, along with Pace at outside linebacker, Minnesota may find its team chemistry tested against a defense looking to boost their stats.
Welcome back to Revis Island—population: one. There may be no volleyball to speak to on Monday night but expect some harsh verbal communication to be heard through your TV sets between Moss and Revis.
It's a small rivalry that is brewing and, with a hostile Jets crowd looking for a 4-1 record, Moss' efforts could be overshadowed by the return of perhaps the brightest cornerback in all of football.
It's by far not the biggest storyline to come from this game, but the winner will have the wave of confidence flowing in their favor and each will be looking for their hard work to pay dividends Monday night in New York.
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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