The Jets will return to familiar stomping grounds Sunday at the Meadowlands and cornerback Darrelle Revis has called for a passion play against the Bills.
"We know we're going to have the fans on our side and that's going to be a lot of emotion," Revis said in the locker room this week. "And that's the one thing we talked about — we need a little bit more emotion on the defensive side, more passion. Guys are making plays and they're just like, 'I made a play.' "
But the players were reminded to loosen up on the field. Sure, football is their profession, but it's still a kid's game. And if you don't bring a youthful exuberance to the field every week, you can get caught in troublesome situations.
"Show some emotion and have fun with it. Rex said enjoy it. We know football's important but enjoy it," said the Jets' lockdown corner. "A lot of people can't do what we're doing, so enjoy that you're playing football in the NFL and let's get some more emotion and more passion on the defensive side of the ball."
Despite yielding 413 yards of offense in Monday night's loss to the Dolphins, the Jets still rank ninth in the league in defense (304.8 yards per game). The Green & White were embarrassed by their defensive performance and they'll look to rebound against a struggling Bills offense.
"I think we have to prove something every week. They outplayed us, they did us dirty down there," said Revis. "We have to focus back up and get back to where we need to be and that's an aggressive defense — run and being physical and taking care of the little things that we need to take care of on the field. In that game on Monday night, we didn't take care of the little things and they made big plays."
Even Revis, who is the league's top cornerback, got beat by a Ted Ginn double move that resulted in a 53-yard touchdown. In a funny exchange with a reporter this week, Revis said that he was still human and doesn't have a cape in a reference to Superman.
"On the defensive side, it's on us to not let them score touchdowns and we did. I got beat on a double move and they ran the ball up our butts," he said. "We just have to focus in and calmly, collectively as a defense make stops like we usually do."
The Bills have a pair of talented wideouts on the outside, but neither Terrell Owens (12 receptions, 202 yards, one TD) nor Lee Evans (12-159-1) has been much of a factor during the Bills' 1-4 start. Trent Edwards has been sacked 18 times (second-most in the league) and he's been downed behind the line on 10.8 percent (30th) of the Bills' pass plays.
"Their offense is set up to throw the vertical routes, the big plays. But I don't know, I guess they're just checking it down and trying to play it safe. I'm sure they want to go deep," Revis said. "They tried to go deep last year twice on us. Ever since I've been here, they have two vertical guys. They have T.O. and Lee Evans on the other side, and I'm sure they're going to try to air it out."
But this Buffalo team, which has run exclusively out of the no-huddle to this point, has not gotten the vertical game on track. Instead, Fred Jackson, who had an impressive three-game stint as the Bills' featured back to open the season when Marshawn Lynch was suspended, has 20 catches to lead the club. Even Lynch, who's played in just two games, has caught 11 balls out of the backfield.
"Their running backs are a big part of their offense. They have a bunch of checkdowns. If they look down the field and it's not open, then they'll check it down to those guys," said No. 24. "Jackson, their backup running back, is their leading receiver. That's crazy when you have Lee Evans and T.O. on each side. We need to be aware where they're at, too."
To his credit and to some persons' chagrin, Owens has not complained publicly. And it will be interesting to see how the Jets use Revis because both Owens and Evans are dangerous threats. Owens has to be frustrated and the Bills have to be disappointed that their big free agent signing hasn't helped them become an explosive offense.
"When I was a rookie and he was at Dallas, they moved him in different positions," Revis said of a Thanksgiving Day game when Owens was held to 65 yards on six catches and one late TD. "They put him on the inside, in the slot so nobody could jam him and he could get a free release and run down the field and catch a deep ball on guys. They're trying to do the same thing. They're trying to get him the ball anyway they can."
To a man, the Jets have praised the Bills' skill people this week. Revis and the backfield should get a boost as Lito Sheppard is expected back in the lineup for this key divisional matchup. The Jets want to return to the winning column by playing with passion and having fun while keeping T.O. quiet for yet another week.
"I still have respect. Terrell Owens is still Terrell Owens," said Revis. "Even if he has zero catches for zero touchdowns, the next game he might have 20 touchdowns and 1,000 yards receiving."