Darrelle Revis ACL Tear: Why the New York Jets Can Still Win Without Him
News broke on Monday morning that New York Jets All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis will likely miss the rest of the 2012 season with a tear of his anterior cruciate ligament. Already the naysayers are predicting doom and gloom for the Jets, and it's true that some of the stats do not exactly make Jets fans optimistic (if Jets fans can ever be optimistc, that is).
According to Rich Cimini of ESPN, the Jets have allowed just one touchdown and a 54 percent completion rate this season when Revis has been on the field. Without him, they have allowed four touchdowns and a 62 percent completion percentage.
However, Revis is not the most important person involved in the Jets defense. That person is coach Rex Ryan.
Ryan, along with defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, creates the defensive gameplan each week. He will be responsible for finding a way to shut down opponents without his most dominant player. But luckily for Jets fans, he has done this before.
As Mike Vorkunov of the Star-Ledger points out, Ryan faced a similar situation in 2005, his first year as the Baltimore Ravens' defensive coordinator. That season, Ryan lost both linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed for an extended period of time, but his team still finished fifth in the league in both yards per game allowed and points per game allowed.
Clearly, this is a man used to succeeding without some of his best defensive players on the field. Don't forget, back in the 2010 season, the Jets lost Revis for several games while he recovered from an injury.
After Revis hurt his hamstring that season against the New England Patriots, Ryan had to adjust his scheme on the fly. Without their star corner, the Jets shut out the Patriots in the second half on their way to victory.
If Ryan could shut down one of the top offenses in the league with just a few minutes' notice, imagine what he could do with weeks to adjust to life without Revis. Plus, New York's secondary is more talented than it was back then, particularly at the safety position.
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Another saving grace for the Jets is their schedule. New York does not exactly face a juggernaut of offenses this season, especially in the latter half of the year. The next two weeks will be tough, as the Jets face the San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans in back to back games. And of course the Patriots are always a tough matchup as long as they still have Tom Brady.
But throughout the rest of the season, the Jets play multiple young and inexperienced quarterbacks. They face Dolphins rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill again along with games against Jake Locker, Sam Bradford, Russell Wilson, and Blaine Gabbert. Not to mention, they face the turnover-prone Ryan Fitzpatrick once again in the last week of the season.
Ryan and Pettine should be able to fool these quarterbacks with some of their complex schemes. The Jets may allow some more yardage without Revis locking down one side of the field, but if they confuse their opponents and force some key turnovers, they should still be able to survive defensively.
Obviously, the secondary will be greatly helped if the Jets front seven stops the run and forces opponents into more third and long situations.
New York has also struggled in this area so far this season, but the front seven has not yet been fully healthy. Nose tackle Sione Po'uha did not play against in the season opener the Bills, and many of CJ Spiller's yards in that game resulted from backup Marcus Dixon being double-teamed.
Over the last two weeks, the Jets have been without linebacker Bryan Thomas, the team's best outside linebacker against the run. With him presumably back in the lineup this week, New York should be able to set the edges better than they did on Sunday.
Worst case scenario for the Jets, they could always try Tim Tebow at corner. After all, he's not doing well as the team's wildcat quarterback or backup tight end, so maybe he could give defense a try.
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