There have been many great players throughout the history of the Jets franchise but it’s tough to put many (if any) of them in that transcendent category. Insert Darrelle Revis, who may very well be the best player to ever don the green and white. Lets take a look at back at the historic 2009 season from Revis Island. I’ve been in a wormhole of watching old Jets games because it’s June and there really isn’t anything else to do. I decided to watch the two AFC Championship run years of 2009 and 2010 to feel happy emotions. I’m not sure whether it was the last two seasons of nothingness from Revis but I somehow forgot just how freaking great he was, especially in 2009.
I mean just look at that lineup of receivers:
- Andre Johnson in his prime
- Randy Moss in his last good year
- Marques Colston when he was still a number one receiver
- Steve Smith who will never be easy to cover
- Chad Johnson in his prime years
The 2009 version of Darrelle Revis is the best season I’ve ever seen from a cornerback. The Jets defense in the first year under Rex Ryan was about two things: blitzing the hell out of the quarterback and playing mostly man coverage on the backend. Ryan rarely got pressure from solely the defensive line, as he loved to draw up exotic blitzes that were difficult to decipher pre-snap. This meant that Revis more often than not was matched up with the teams best receiver one on one for a majority of the game.
Here’s a look at Revis’ game log from 2009 while in man to man coverage (via ganggreennation.com)
Only two receivers got more than 50 yards receiving on him: Tess Ginn who caught a long TD where Revis essentially gave up on the play and Louis Murphy where the game was so out of hand that Mark Sanchez was eating a hot dog on the sideline.
Revis not only had the stats, which are a good indicator of conclusions but don’t tell the whole story, he had the tape to back it up as well. He is the most technically sound corner that these two eyes have ever seen. My father and I joke that the scariest thing for a football player to see was Revis lining up to press you.
He wasn’t the biggest corner out there but he didn’t need to be. His strength at the snap when he pressed and his physicality at the point of attack made up for any height difference. Two of my favorite aspects from prime Revis were these: his football IQ and his willingness to tackle.
If you go and watch any Revis highlight from 2009, you’re going to see the receiver try numerous different route combinations to try and fool him. Every single time you will see Revis in the guys shirt like he stole something. Here’s a video from training camp:
The footwork. The way he flips his hips. The ability to recover and break on the ball. All world class aspects of his game.
His willingness to tackle might be the most overlooked part of his game. In 2009, he finished fifth on the Jets in tackles. Having your corner finish that high in tackles probably isn’t the best thing to see but the way the Jets defense was structured makes it not too outlandish. In his final years, we saw a shell of Revis when it came to tackling. Not willing to get into any sort of tackling in any part of any game. When a receiver caught a ball in 2009 (which was an event in itself), they typically weren’t going much farther than the spot they caught it at.
All of this and HE STILL DIDN’T WIN DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR. Charles Woodson was as deserving of the award as anyone (9 interceptions, 3 touchdowns, 18 pass defended and 4 forced fumbles). I get the award is more numbers based but while Revis didn’t have the flashy numbers like Woodson (he still had 6 interceptions, 1 pick six and 31 passes defended), he made up for on film and in the sheer terror he caused opposing receivers. He also had the highest grade of any corner in the PFF era, which started in 2006. (I do not see Charles Woodson on this, hm.)
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) May 27, 2017
Darrelle Revis will go down as one of, if not the greatest player to ever throw on the Green and White. The number 24 will be in the Ring of Honor. He may be looked as a diva because of the contract hoopla but he deserved to be paid. He was the best corner on the best defense and rarely ever made you question whether he was worth it. If you have the chance, go back and watch the 2009 Jets. You’ll see, for my money, the greatest season a cornerback has had.
Photo courtesy of rantsports.com