Today, we got it from the horse’s mouth. Jets coach Rex Ryan said that his defense was in a man-free look — man coverage with a centerfielder patrolling the deep middle — when Darrelle Revis picked off a ball intended for Randy Moss. And he said that, for much of the day, that was the extent of the help Revis got on Moss.
For those that don’t know, that’s showing a lot of confidence in your corner, since the free safety has to cover an enormous amount of ground and may be needed elsewhere on the field.
“I’ll just put it this way: Having Revis allows us to do things that most people don’t do, or have the courage for,” Ryan said. “Man coverage. Man-up, and say, ‘Here we are.’ Now, Kerry Rhodes covers a lot of ground. So what may look like cover-2, because of the range Kerry has, might’ve been cover-1. Hey, all I can say is, we’ve got the best corner in the league and I don’t think there’s any dispute about that.”
On the interception, Ryan said: “It’s man-to-man, and you’ve got a centerfielder. And Kerry had great range on that play. So if they thought it was cover-2, hopefully they think it’s cover-2 this week too.”
Revis addressed this matter again today. And he paid Moss proper respect, agreeing that he’s the best vertical receiver in the game, and the best at gaining body position and getting the ball while it’s in the air. He added there’s very little talk between the two when they match up, and lauded Moss’ work ethic and in-game motor.
So why can’t Moss pay him the respect he so obviously has for the Patriots receiver?
“I have respect, from my coaches, from other coaches around this league and other players,” Revis said. “If he’s one of the guys that doesn’t want to do it, then that’s OK. I still have to be the human being that I am.
“I give people respect, whether I cover you and shut you down, or I don’t. If you have 120 yards and three touchdowns on me, I’m still gonna give you that respect. If that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels. … Whatever he says, he says. I just do what I have to do as a Jet, and go out and go to work every day.”
One difficult thing for the Jets is trying to approximate what Moss brings on the practice field this week. They’re using 6-foot-4 practice-squad receiver Marcus Henry to play him on the look team, but they know that’s not going to really get anyone completely ready for Sunday.
“You can get a big guy to simulate all that height, but you can’t find one with all that speed. Or you can find a fast guy, but he doesn’t have that size,” Ryan said. “It is really hard to simulate that. Our guys, Henry’s doing the best job he can, but there’s not too many Randy Mosses walking around. He’s the best vertical receiver in the game and that’s why that matchup is incredible.
“You’re seeing best corner in football against the best vertical receiver in the game in Randy Moss. That’s gonna be a heck of a matchup, and it was the first week. The fact that Revis, statistically, it wasn’t a huge game by Moss, but trust me, you know where Randy Moss is.”
One thought I had, just for the hell of it — Is it possible the Jets are playing possum here? Is it possible that they kick Revis inside to handle Wes Welker (who wasn’t active for the first game) and then bracket Moss on the outside, like they did last November?
I’ve been shot down by a bunch of people on that thought, but I figured I’d toss it out there. It’s hard to double an inside receiver, so maybe committing the best corner to Welker — particularly for a blitzing team trying to take away a quarterback’s hot reads — would make some sense. But probably not.
One more thing, while I’m talking scout-team here. Playing Welker in practice: The guy who once held the NCAA’s all-time rushing lead, Danny Woodhead.