Florham Park, N.J.– Today at noon Jets fans got the devastating news that they more than likely expected, but were praying wouldn’t come. A somber Rex Ryan entered the press conference room and he didn’t have to say a word. The look on his face said it all.
Darrelle Revis is out for the season with a torn ACL.
“First off news on Darrelle, he does have an ACL tear that’s going to require surgery.” Ryan said, “Obviously that’s a significant injury and it’s something that we’re going to have to overcome as a football team. We understand that, but for him I feel bad about it because he’s (not only) such a great player, but a great teammate and so we’re going to lose that presence. I don’t know what else to say about it. That’s the horrible thing that came out of the game, the good thing is we found a way to come out with a win.”
Ryan wouldn’t come out and say definitively that Revis will be out for the year, but Revis going on injured reserve and ending his season is a mere formality at this point. Surgeries for a torn ACL requires rest for a few weeks so the swelling can go down before they can go in for surgery and Revis will have a long rehab to go before he’s ready to play football.
“Everybody has to step up and that’s it.” Ryan said about his message to the team, “I remember one game my first year here, I believe we lost Leon Washington and Kris Jenkins in the same game. Those are two outstanding football players, maybe one of them was regarded as one of our best offensive weapons and one of the best defensive players in the league and then the very next year we lose Kris after three plays.
“So we have a history of stepping up, but I think I’ve also had some experience where you lose some corners. In Baltimore I think we lost three or four corners in one year and obviously that was tough but we just have to pick it up and play some opponents differently, there’s different ways to skin a cat. Obviously you can’t just take away their best receiver with one guy, but again we’ll find a way.”
With Revis out, Cromartie steps up to become the number one corner (his play must dramatically improve as he has gotten burnt multiple times this season), Kyle Wilson slides up to the number two outside spot which could actually help Wilson’s play. Wilson seems to be a better fit playing corner on the outside than he is for playing the slot, but clearly even if he plays great he’s no Darrelle Revis.
Where the problem becomes more worrisome is the bottom of the depth chart. Ellis Lankster has shown improvement as a young corner, but he’s still a work in progress and the slot might be too much for him and Isaiah Trufant is still too short to be an effective corner. Donnie Fletcher will also have a chance to play his way up the roster, shouldn’t be hard to overtake Trufant, and it’s very likely the Jets look to the free agent pool to add another corner or two.
“We’ll we’re fortunate because most teams only have one number one corner, or some don’t even have any, we’re fortunate that we got the best in the league with Darrelle and we also have a number one corner in Cromartie.” Ryan said on how Revis’ absence will change their defensive scheme, “So we’re fortunate there, we drafted Kyle Wilson to be a number two corner and that’s what he’s going to play, that role and I’m confident in Kyle. Then we have two young, tough players in Isaiah Trufant and Ellis Lankster and they’re going to have to step it up.”
In the NFL they say there’s two ways to pressure a quarterback, great shut-down coverage or a strong pass rush. With the Jets now down a true lock down corner, they’re going to have to unleash the pass rush more and Ryan understands that.
“We’ll I think sometimes you have to be (more aggressive). The most aggressive in the history of the National Football League was the Bears, back when my dad was there and he played with three college safeties and a college receiver from Yale.” Ryan said, “That was how his back end was made up, but sometimes if you put enough pressure on them you don’t have those throws down the field, so we may be even more aggressive.”
This means you can probably expect to see more of Quinton Coples and one would think DeMario Davis and if the Jets continue to struggle to get pressure with their front four then get ready to see more of Ryan’s famous exotic blitzes. As Ryan said, everyone will need to step up because blitzing leaves holes in the defense and in today’s NFL offense are designed to take advantage of those holes.
Ryan wore the pain of the loss of Revis all over his face, never hiding from the reality that his team faces a mighty tough battle to perceiver through this injury, buts as he so often does Ryan stated his utmost confidence in the ability of his players to step up in Revis’ absence.
“This is a team game and as a team we have to step it up and our guys I think will respond. I think we certainly have to accept the challenge and we’ll come out and compete, we might do it a little differently, but we’re certainly going to give it our best shot.” Ryan said, “Without question and 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 and I think we showed that yesterday too. There were plenty of times to get down in that game, but we kept fighting, kept believing in each other and we found a way to win and that’s what it’s going to take. It’s going to take everybody we have, pulling together like we are and just keep competing and see what happens at the end of the day.”
The Jets have to find a way to overcome this or their season will certainly be lost, but for now Revis’ focus has to be on getting healthy and being ready for training camp next season (the one silver lining of the injury is now it’s extremely unlikely Revis will holdout next year). Luckily for Revis, the Jets and their fans and (really football fans everywhere who doesn’t enjoy watching the best play?), modern medicine makes these injuries much easier to come back from. It requires a ton of rehab and hard work, but you’d be foolish to doubt Revis’ desire to return to form. Ryan clearly has no such worries.
“I know the way Darrelle is, this is a guy that’s as competitive as it gets.” Ryan said, “I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s going to come back strong from it.”
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