Darrelle Revis Is The Key Component To New England’s New-Look Defense
By Gregory Hunt
CBS Local Sports presents 32 Players in 32 Days, a daily feature focusing on one impact player from each NFL team.
Darrelle Revis – CB – #24
Weight: 198 lbs.
Hometown: Aliquippa, PA
Experience: 8 years
For the first six years of his NFL career, cornerback Darrelle Revis stood on the other side of the New York Jets/New England Patriots rivalry. Prior to the 2009 season, Revis called Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss a “slouch” during an interview with NFL Network, then he proceeded to make him look like one, holding Moss to only nine catches for 58 yards and one touchdown in their two meetings that season. Revis was a key member of a Jets team that went to back-to-back AFC Championship Games in 2009 and 2010. He was named AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2009 after making 72 total tackles and six interceptions.
Now, after missing most of the 2012 season with a torn ACL and spending the 2013 season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Revis finds himself as a member of the Patriots. In recent seasons, New England has received inconsistent play from the cornerback position, so the presence of Revis, widely considered to be one of the best cornerbacks in the league, represents a significant upgrade at that spot. Although Aqib Talib played well for New England at that position for 19 games from 2012-2013, Revis is the type of impact player that can single-handedly transform a defense.
New England’s defense struggled throughout most of the 2013 season. The team gave up 373.1 yards per game, which ranked 26th in the league and was worst among all playoff qualifiers. In spite of this, Patriots still went 12-4 and advanced to the AFC Championship where they lost 26-13 to the high-powered Denver Broncos. Assuming the offense doesn’t decline, any improvement in the defense may get New England to its sixth Super Bowl appearance in 14 seasons.
Revis has already made a huge impact on the team in training camp. While working exclusively at left corner, he’s been giving quarterback Tom Brady and wide receiver Julian Edelman fits with his smothering coverage. Brady recently told Sirus XM NFL Radio, “Having [Revis] in practice every day makes all of our guys better because they’re seeing the best, a guy that competes every play in the run game and pass game, on every route.” Revis also has a knack for making spectacular plays look easy.
At age 29, Revis is possibly at the physical peak of his career. By his own admission, he struggled a little bit to recover from the torn ACL he suffered two years ago, but he worked hard during the off-season to get his weight down, and he even spent a month in Arizona working out with new teammates Devin McCourty, Logan Ryan and Tavon Wilson. Revis told reporters at the beginning of camp that he feels he’s in the best shape of his career.
Gregory Hunt is a Boston native and a life-long fan of the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. He’s also particularly fond of lacrosse, IndyCar racing and women’s college basketball. He currently works for Examiner.com where he serves as the Senior Manager of Content and Media Access. He also writes for Examiner.com as the New England Patriots Examiner. His work can be found on aExaminer.com.