Life Without Revis; Now What?
Brian Bassett , theJetsBlog.com
Like you probably are too, we’re working through the five stages of grief today with the news that Darrelle Revis most likely will miss the rest of the season for the Jets. Now he’s gone and I hate everything. Clearly I’m still in the anger stage. As we come to grips with acceptance of the new reality, here’s some of what we think the Jets are going to have to do to do their best to spackle over the cracks that will most assuredly come from the loss of their premiere defender.
Defend the Run — So far the Jets have not been up to their own standards at defending the run. The Jets have been undisciplined in their gap control as well as making their tackles. It starts up front with the defensive line controlling the line of scrimmage and is followed through by the Jets linebackers whose job it is to make the play. Even when the linebackers get into postion, they’ve been unable to make the play – specifically Bart Scott. If the Jets can keep opponents out of third and shorts, it opens up the possibilities to Ryan to get third down stops and to blitz more freely. To this end, look to see if the Jets don’t pick up Bryan Thomas (assuming he’s well enough) and they might even give the Mauga/McIntyre/Davis rotating platoon more time situationally over the seemingly grasping Bart Scott.
Create an Effective Pass Rush — Yesterday the Jets were unable to get to a rookie quarterback for a single sack and only got two QB hits according to the official scorer. The Jets just aren’t getting some of the interior pressure we saw in the preseason from their young linemen Wilkerson and Coples. The Jets need to figure out ways to let these guys one-gap more to get after the passer. On the outside, Aaron Maybin says that teams are taking him out of plays. Fine, but that means that the Jets need to use him as a decoy more often to allow another linemen or linebacker to get some shots at the passer. The Jets need to create better pressure since their secondary is going to be harder pressed to cover without Revis.
Break Up the Coverage — When Revis is well, the secondary scheme is simple. Use a Cover One that routinely puts Revis in what is effectively a Cover Zero look on his side of the field. Move the safety to Cromartie’s side. Switch it up at odd intervals to keep quarterbacks guessing and to trap them as needed. This would then make QBs want to throw at Revis. Which was essentially just what Rex Ryan wanted. Now the name of the game is going to be to anticipate getting the quarterback to throw where Ryan/Pettine wants it. It just won’t necessarily be the same one guy on every play. That was a luxury, this is the reality of what most defenses have to do week in and week out. To that end. LaRon Landry might be a big part of the plan. Without Revis, the Jets might use much more Cover Two — once they feel they can rely on their defensive front to stop the run without getting so much of the safety help they’re used to. Safeties have always been a big part of the run support for Ryan since he’s come to the Jets, but they might have to redeploy those guys with the absence of Revis. Look for Ryan to try and throw more safety trap plays into the mix to allow his athletic safeties to be put in the right situation. Landry seems more than capable of the challenge, so he’s going to be something of an “X Factor” in how the Jets respond.
Run the Football and Actually Do So Not Terribly– I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but in essence Shonn Greene needs to not be atrocious. Maybe his coaches flip their Jets cheerleaders calendars over to December. Maybe the grounds crew throws a tarp over the stadium, bring in some industrial air conditioners and cool the piss out of the place … or maybe they just nail his butt to the bench. The Jets have yet to show a spark when it comes to running the ball and they have to figure out some way to run the ball better. Brick has never been a top tier run blocker and running the ball behind him seems like a waste, other than as a tendency breaker. The Jets need to find those bread and butter plays that Sparano feels like he can use again and again and get positive yards from … just like Schotty/Callahan did with the Faneca pull play that worked almost every time. The Jets need to figure out again how to play smashmouth football on offense and actually succeed in doing it. Tim Tebow (by the way, seriously USA Today? not cool.) has almost nothing to do with this. This is just traditional line ‘em up stuff. Why does this matter? Because if they can keep an opponent’s defense gassed and their quarterback off the field, it can’t be a bad thing for their own defense.