Darrelle Revis has taken on opposing teams’ best wide receivers week after week and shut them down.
You name ’em and the New York Jets cornerback has frustrated them. Just ask Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens and Steve Smith.
“It don’t get any better than this,” Revis said Tuesday. “It’s just something where you have to play against some of these top receivers every week, and every week, it’s somebody new.”
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And, he has been dominant in just about every game. So much so, his coach has called him the best cornerback in the league, hands down.
“This guy gets it done,” Rex Ryan said. “It is amazing. It’s unfortunate that we haven’t had the success as a football team because without question he’d probably be the top guy as far as Defensive Player of the Year. Nobody’s had the impact that this young man’s had throughout the league.”
Revis has 53 tackles, 21 passes defensed and a team-leading four interceptions, and appears likely headed to his second Pro Bowl in three NFL seasons.
“That’s crazy for him to say that,” Revis said of Ryan’s praise. “I just look at it as simple: I’m just trying to do my job. He believes in my talent, I believe in my talent and I just go and play, man.”
Revis’ performance so far this season has stunned Ryan, who declared him the league’s top cornerback when he was hired as head coach in January.
“I knew how he competed, but this is even a little surprising to me,” Ryan said. “I knew he was the best corner in the game, but this is unbelievable.”
Defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman, a former Pro Bowl cornerback, remembers joining Ryan’s coaching staff and meeting Revis for the first time.
“One of the first things he said to me was, ‘Coach me,”‘ Thurman said. “He wants to be recognized as the best corner, not one of the best. He’s still learning how to study the game and he’s willing to work at it, and that’s refreshing.”
During training camp, Revis admitted to sometimes being bored during games because opposing offenses were staying away from his side of the field. There has been little boredom this season, though, because it seems Revis takes on a top-notch receiver every game.
“I think he has stepped up to the plate this year,” cornerback Lito Sheppard said. “He has been challenged with a lot of pressure situations, having to stick on a lot of the top guys in the league, and he’s been doing it in man-to-man coverage. That in itself I think has opened up a lot of eyes.”
Smith had one catch for 5 yards last Sunday in New York’s 17-6 win over Carolina. Moss had nine catches for 58 yards and a touchdown in two games against Revis, while Johnson (four catches for 35 yards), Owens (three for 13) and Marques Colston (two for 33) all failed to get into the end zone – or have much impact, for that matter.
“Sometimes I get respect and sometimes I don’t,” Revis said. “I just have to keep on moving forward and playing my game.”
Thurman, who played with Ronnie Lott at Southern California and Everson Walls in Dallas, sees greatness in Revis.
“He really enjoys going out and putting his skills up against the best receivers,” Thurman said. “There are some corners that say that, but deep down, they don’t really want that. He seriously, legitimately, doesn’t care. When the game’s over and the chips fall, he sees where he’s at. He has the temperament to be a great corner.”
Next up for Revis is a second matchup with Owens. Despite a mostly quiet first season with the Bills, Owens has 17 catches for 378 yards and two touchdowns in his last three games.
“T.O.’s the same guy,” Revis said. “Everybody knows T.O. goes deep and catches deep balls. They hadn’t been doing that earlier in the season, but now, I guess they’re getting some chemistry with those guys and he’s going deep and catching the balls.”
Some call Revis a shutdown or lockdown cornerback. Forget those labels. He just wants to be known as the best in the game.
“Is he perfect? No,” Thurman said. “There’s things he needs to improve on and will improve on. He always wants more, and if he’s fortunate enough to stay healthy and keeps improving, he’ll have a great career. The sky’s the limit for him.”
NOTES: QB Mark Sanchez, nursing a sore left knee, fully participated in practice and Ryan said he’ll “absolutely” start against Buffalo. … S Kerry Rhodes, demoted last week in favor of Eric Smith, said his relationship with Ryan is “real good” and said he had “to do one more thing with him and I’ll be back in my regular old spot.” He declined to reveal what that one thing is.