Last year Jets All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis had a season to remember with six interceptions and 31 pass defenses, all while playing shutdown defense on the opposition's best wide receiver. Despite that performance, Green Bay's Charles Woodson took home the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award, which drew some debate from Jets head coach Rex Ryan.
"I know he's a great player," Ryan said of Woodson today on a conference call with Green Bay reporters. "My brother [Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan] coached Charles when he was at the Raiders and absolutely loved him, and he was a great player. I don't say he's not a great player, but the year that Darrelle Revis had has never been done in the history of the league, and I think that was a once-in-a-lifetime year for any corner.
"We did have the No. 1 defense in football. We did give up only eight passing touchdowns last year. And I think that was an incredible thing and it was such a great tribute to him."
Woodson, the 13th-year pro who had nine interceptions, three return touchdowns, 18 passes defenses and four forced fumbles last season, and the Packers come to New Meadowlands Stadium on Halloween, and in part it will be a matchup of two of the top cornerbacks in the NFL. While they won't be lined up against each other, Revis acknowledged that Woodson was one of his idols growing up.
"I look up to the guy, followed him when he was in college," Revis said. "That's a guy that you always want to be like. Be like Charles Woodson and cover like him. I appreciate everything he did. He paved the way for corners to try to play aggressive football like him."
While Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will certainly be preparing for a one-two combination of Revis and playmaking cornerback Antonio Cromartie, Jets signalcaller Mark Sanchez will be keeping track of Woodson. Green Bay receivers Donald Driver and Greg Jennings will surely see plenty of the University of Pittsburgh and Florida State University products, and Jets receivers Braylon Edwards, Jerricho Cotchery and Santonio Holmes will be aware of Woodson's ball hawking ability. Sanchez had great things to say about both top tier defensive backs.
"I think Woodson is a solid player. They're both really good players," Sanchez said. "Athletic, great skills when the ball is in the air. They're not just a guy who is going to bat a ball down — they'll pick it. They'll pick it with one hand. They're that type of player. They're similar."
Green Bay's offense comes into Sunday's game with the third-most yards per play and the fourth-most net yards per pass play in the NFL. As a result, the Jets have been planning extra hard for a Packers team that is 4-3 but has lost those three games by a total of eight points. The Green & White had an abbreviated practice on Monday and then went for a full session today inside the fieldhouse at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.
"We had a great practice today. Guys were really focused," Revis said. "We have a couple more days to get prepared for this game. Guys were moving around very fast today and into it."
Along with the attention to detail, Ryan's 5-1 squad is coming off of its bye week and is almost completely healthy. Linebacker Calvin Pace was the only player limited in practice, and Revis on Monday declared that he was 100 percent for the first time since his Week 2 hamstring injury. He admittedly hasn't looked like the proprietor of Revis Island over the previous few games but now he's back on track.
"You can tell the last couple of games I've been off in my play," Revis said when asked if he felt like the 2009 version of himself. "I've always been Darrelle Revis. I feel real good. I'm ready to go. Everybody can tell I'm moving faster and I'm playing ball. I'm excited and just happy to be where I am now and move forward."