For years, the one thing opposing teams had to count on when facing the New York Jets was a solid secondary. Even when the team was losing 12 games a year, it’s pass defense was always above average.
All the sudden, the weakest link on the Jets roster appears to be their secondary.
New York has allowed four 50-plus passing plays already this season, which is just one shy of what it yielded all of 2015. But the worst part is the fact that on two of those plays, the victim was the Jets very best player: All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis.
In the first game of the season, Bengals’ receiver A.J. Green ran right past Revis for a 54-yard touchdown. Overall, it was one of Revis’ worst games of recent memory. He covered Green most of the day, and the Bengals receiver definitely got the better of him, as he hauled in 12 catches for 180 yards and a score.
At least Green is an All-Pro level talent.
Four days later, Revis was burned again by a man most NFL fans have never even heard of — Marquise Goodwin. Bills’ quarterback Tyrod Taylor saw Goodwin run right by Revis and found him for a 84-yard touchdown strike.
Sure, this is a little concerning, but ultimately, the belief that Revis is washed up is an overblown narrative at this juncture in time.
On the play where Green beat Revis for the 54-yard score, it’s pretty obvious that the Jets top cornerback was looking for safety help, which never came. On the replay, safety Marcus Gilchrist appears to be motioning his arm towards corner Marcus Williams, indicating that Williams was supposed to cover the center of the field on the play.
Instead, Green blows by everyone, and the closest defender to him was Revis, who took the brunt of the blame.
On the Goodwin touchdown, Revis doesn’t have anyone to blame but himself. However, for readers who don’t know who Goodwin is, he’s a former track star. We aren’t talking high school track here. He almost competed in the Olympics at Rio for Team USA. So the guy is pretty fast — maybe the fastest player in the NFL.
It looked as though Revis took for granted that speed, and Goodwin went right past him. It could have happened to anybody.
The truth is this isn’t the first time Revis has had trouble with a speedster. Against DeAndre Hopkins last season, the second-year receiver caught a 61-yard touchdown and another 20-yard score from T.J. Yates. Revis was in coverage most of the day.
Yet Revis still turned in one of his finest seasons ever in 2015. He allowed a 56.5 passer rating on passes thrown to receivers he was covering , which was the third-best mark in the league. Fans considered Revis’ game versus Hopkins to be just a bump in the road last year because it came in the middle of the season. When there’s a small sample size at the beginning of the year, it’s very easy to overreact, but in reality, a season isn’t defined by a couple of plays.
“He gave up two plays; I don’t think that’s an indication of a whole season,’’ coach Todd Bowles said diplomatically last week according to The New York Post. “We’ve got to correct it and move on. He’ll be better and we’ll move on from there.’’
At 31 years old, it’s possible Revis is slowing down. Maybe he won’t be a top five cornerback by season’s end and perhaps in a year or two, he does switch to safety to prolong his career.
But for now, let’s give the four-time All-Pro the benefit of the doubt.