Steelers WR Wallace: I don’t fear Jets CB Revis

Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace believes he’s quickly

becoming one of the NFL’s best. To prove that, he knows there’s one

test he still must pass.

That’s show he can be successful going against Darrelle Revis,

the Jets cornerback who is widely considered to be the NFL’s

best.

Wallace said Wednesday he’s confident he matches up well against

Revis, the former Pitt star. Wallace, who replaced Santonio Holmes

in the Steelers’ lineup when Holmes was traded to the Jets,

believes his exceptional speed allows him to go against any

defensive back in the league without fear.

Including Revis.

Revis said recently he’s almost bored because quarterbacks

target him so rarely. Wallace, not normally one to say anything

that an opposing player could use for motivation, is talking as if

he intends to make for an eventful day for Revis when the Jets

(9-4) and Steelers (10-3) play Sunday in Pittsburgh.

”I don’t care about nobody. He’s just another guy. He’s a real

good player, but, hey, I’m a real good player myself,” Wallace

said. ”I don’t fear nobody and I don’t back down from nobody.

Whoever comes out and lines up, that’s who I’m going to be going

against.”

No doubt Revis doesn’t want to have an uncommonly bad day

playing before so many friends and family members from nearby

Aliquippa, Pa., where he played high school football. There is a

chance he could be matched primarily against Hines Ward, the

Steelers’ leading receiver with 49 catches. But it seems more

likely he will regularly be assigned to Wallace.

Wallace led the NFL in average yards per catch last season, and

his 20.6 average this season ranks second.

”It’s whoever they feel like matches up better against you,”

Wallace said. ”It really doesn’t matter to me whether it’s him or

(Antonio) Cromartie.”

Jets coach Rex Ryan isn’t offering any hints whether Revis might

draw Wallace or Ward when New York plays man coverage – he jokes

that he might put him on rookie center Maurkice Pouncey. But Ryan

said teams are being smart by not going after Revis.

”They aren’t going to throw over there,” Ryan said. ”He is

the best in the game. It’s not even close. Initially he had a

hamstring (injury) at camp. But, the last couple of weeks, he has

been Darrelle Revis.”

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin won’t dispute that.

”I assume he is that good,” Tomlin said, ”because I don’t

have a lot of video evidence – nobody is throwing the ball in his

direction.”

The Steelers haven’t had a dropoff at wide receiver without

Holmes, mostly because Wallace has made such a smooth transition

from No. 3 receiver to an every-down player. Wallace has 46 catches

for 946 yards and eight touchdowns; Holmes has 41 receptions for

620 yards, a 15.1 average and four touchdowns for New York.

Wallace has seen his production drop off slightly the last few

games. The second-year receiver from Mississippi had consecutive

100-yard games against the Bengals, Patriots and Raiders from Nov.

8-21, catching a combined four touchdown passes. He has no 100-yard

games, and no touchdowns since then – against the Bills, Ravens and

Bengals – with a combined 187 yards.

So maybe Wallace was using his own words to motivate

himself.

Wallace, who is 6 feet and 199 pounds, has never opposed the

5-11, 198-pound Revis. But he has watched plenty of scouting

tape.

”He’s right up in your grill, in your face and you’ve got to

beat him,” Wallace said. ”He’s a real good player, but I don’t

care. A man-to-man situation, when it’s me vs. you, it’s either who

wants it or who’s the better player. He’s lived up to the hype. But

I don’t care about none of that. Hype don’t mean nothing to

me.”

To Ward, what really matters when the Steelers oppose the Jets

and their No. 3-ranked defense is who wins the game. Not who wins

the individual matchups.

”It’s not Revis against me or Cromartie against Mike, it’s the

Steelers vs. the Jets,” Ward said. ”I’m not going to get caught

up in Revis Island or stuff like that. This game is not all about

one person, it’s about a team. If Revis shuts all of us down and we

win, do you think we’re going to be sad?”