Darrelle Revis makes the tackle against Nebraska
The Buffalo Bills targeted Jets rookie CB Darrelle Revis Sunday afternoon. Still a novice in the slot, Revis had an eye-opening experience.
"They really attacked the slot and me being in the dime," he said today. "They really attacked us there, just doing routes that I never even dreamed about in coverage."
Just four starts into his NFL career, the Jets' first-round selection from Pittsburgh is learning on the job. When the Jets are in base defense, he is in a comfortable spot at left cornerback. But when the Green & White move to a three-corner look, he moves inside.
"Coach Mangini and Coach [Mike] MacIntyre are just telling me I have to be patient and keep my eyes on the receiver. They were doing three cuts in one route," he said. "I never got that in college even playing regular corner. It is just something, when you're in there, you have to expect those things and learn from them. I made a couple of mistakes in there. It's a learning curve in the slot and I'll work harder to be the best slot guy I can be."
Mangini, a former DB coach with the Patriots, knows how challenging the nickel position can be. Josh Reed usually lines up as the slot receiver for the Bills and he caught four balls for 64 yards.
"Those players are really tough to cover, have a lot of feel for zones and have a lot of feel for man-to-man coverage," Mangini said. "They are usually pretty strong and have excellent hands. It's a whole different world inside as opposed to outside. You have to learn that, feel that and get used to it."
The challenge for Revis is twofold. He is playing two different defensive backfield positions, and he shifts back and forth throughout the game.
"It's kind of mind-boggling in there. You just have to transition over," he said. "It's my job to do, the coaches expect me to do a great job at it. And switching back and forth is kind of difficult, but I have to handle it if that's what they want me to do."
In addition to using Reed in the slot, the Bills also inserted both Roscoe Parrish (four catches, 33 yards) and Peerless Price (1-14) inside.
"It was a multitude of guys. Usually when you prepare for a team, there's really one slot guy that would be stationary," Revis said. "There were a lot of guys that I had to work against. It was kind of tough."
The rookie is a sure tackler and his eight stops yesterday tied ILB Jonathan Vilma for the team lead. Lee Evans, the Bills' most talented wideout and one of football's fastest men, averaged 12 yards on his six catches.
"The game plan, especially watching Evans, our game plan was to stay deep on them," he said. "We knew he was probably going to catch a couple of comebacks."
Even though green, the thing you love about Revis is he is a playmaker. His strip of TE Robert Royal in the first quarter, which was recovered by OLB Victor Hobson, thwarted a drive inside Jets territory.
Then on the Bills' final possession, they again went after Revis to cement the game away. Rookie quarterback Trent Edwards threw a good short pass to Reed but Revis knocked the ball away. That deflection, his second of the game, gave his team one last opportunity.
"We knew they were going to pass and go for the first down. One of the things they like to do is 'press-outs' with their slot receivers," he said. "I just played it out, broke on the ball and made a play."
It will be exciting to watch Revis progress as the season unfolds. It's not a question of if he'll be a good player, it's how good he'll become.
"I know the coaches expect the best from me and I expect the best from myself, too," he said. "I'm going to keep pushing and pushing until I get to that point where I can do things, where I can do extra things to be more successful in there."