The Patriots were already a top team record wise, but many doubted if they had what it took, especially defensively to beat the elite teams. The player he replaces, Aqib Talib, is one of the better corners in the NFL. but New England still chose to let him walk away and bring in Darelle.
Last season Revis graded out in the top three cornerbacks in the NFL while playing in a system that didn’t maximize his strengths. He also was coming off of a torn ACL injury from the prior year. So he should be fully healthy heading into this season. A healthy Darelle Revis brings to the table something that no other corner in the NFL can. In a league that has become so reliant on the passing game he not only matches up with the other teams best receiver, but he usually eliminates that guy. He has matched up against and shutdown receivers like Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson, and Vincent Jackson to name a few, while helping lead the NY Jets to 2 AFC Championship games.
All of this at 5-11 198lbs , he plays with flawless technique and great balance. One of the things that’s most special about him is his ability to make the receiver go where he wants to and always remain in control. Watching Revis game tape is like going to a cornerback class. There are many corners who claim to be the best in the game but none match what he has done and how he has done it. Richard Sherman is now hailed as the best in the game and he is great at what he does but he only plays one side of the field and probably doesn’t even play man more than 50% of the time. Patrick Peterson and Joe Haden are also in the conversation.
They are both talented man to man corners who consistently matchup against the other teams best receiver but the numbers show that they aren’t always successful. If Revis is healthy there is no argument who the best corner in the game is and the patriots are banking on it.
So back to the original question, What does Darelle Revis bring to New England? Well what he brings is something that no other corner in the game or for that matter no corner since Deion Sanders brought which is the ability to eliminate the other teams top receiver no matter who it is or where he lines up at. Also what that does is it allows the safety to help the other corners. Giving the coaching staff the flexibility to run all kinds of different blitzes and be really creative with their coverages.
The Pats have an up and coming defense with the return of their main man in the middle Vince Wilfork, 1st rd pick DT Dominique Easley can push the pocket from inside, pass rushers Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich bring heat off of the edge, a talented group of linebackers led by tackling machine Jerod Mayo, last years first rd pick Donta Hightower, and future star Jamie Collins who is a versatile OLB. The addition of former Seahawk Brandon Browner a big physical CB to line up opposite Revis along with young CBs Alfonzo Dennard and Logan Ryan who both played well last year gives the coaching staff a ton of options with their defensive playcalling. Free safety Devin McCourty is one of the best in the game, he has good size, length, and above average range, he also has the ability to play man coverage which gives them even more options. I see them playing a good amount of cover 0 which will allow them to blitz LB Collins more. Which is why he is my sleeper pick for defensive player of the year this season.
After going over their roster, this defense has the potential to be one of the best in the entire league, add that to the great mind of Bill Bellicheck and the precision passing of Tom Brady and this team could be Super Bowl bound once again. In order to get through teams like the Broncos and Colts with high powered offenses the defense will have to lead the way. For that to happen they will need Revis Island to be in full effect.
This piece was written by Justin Walters of Sports Ruckus. Please follow him @SportsRuckus on twitter.