Jets revise schemes after losing Darrelle Revis
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The groundwork of the Jets' new defensive game plans was being discussed Sunday night on the plane ride home from South Florida.
The revelry that followed their overtime win over the Dolphins was tempered significantly by the loss of their biggest star. But NFL coaches are taught not to wallow or waste time. So as they hoped for the best for Darrelle Revis' left knee, they assumed the worst -- and instantly began diagraming schemes tailor-made for the skill sets of the best 11 guys remaining.
"We just started figuring this is what we may have to do moving forward, making the assumption that this is going to be a longer-term injury," defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said Thursday. "That's the world of the NFL. There are no sympathy cards in the mail. We needed to move on."
Kyle Wilson, the "next man up," already has moved on mentally. The nickel cornerback, who was promoted to Revis' side of the field opposite Antonio Cromartie, surprisingly offered no emotional reaction to the loss of Revis, his good friend and lockermate.
"We had work the next day and it was a usual day," Wilson said. "Correct and review from the game. So I didn't really think too much about it."
When pressed further, the 2010 first-round pick said his only thought was "just wish him well, keep him positive. Really nothing more than that. It doesn't really change my approach to the game."
To outsiders, it seems strange to hear coaches and players speak of Revis as if he were just another player on the 53-man roster. To fans, he's the closest they'll see to perfection personified, the measuring stick for his position. But the coaching staff won't allow players to fall victim to the "sky-is-falling," knee-jerk reaction of the public, Pettine said.
Nevertheless, the reality is this: There is no replacing Revis.
"We're not foolish enough to think that we can continue to do what we're doing," Pettine said. "But we have some pretty good players in that room and a lot of prideful guys as well."
Life without Revis won't entail a change in the Jets' defensive philosophy. Instead, there will be only "subtle" modifications to their schemes. "We're not going to all of a sudden change our package and become a Tampa 2 defense," Pettine said.
Pettine, Rex Ryan and secondary coach Dennis Thurman, a trio bonded since their coaching days in Baltimore, have an "inventory" of defenses at their disposal, and each week they highlight a specific section depending on their available personnel. Going forward, their "coverage concept" will be similar to Week 2 against Pittsburgh, a game in which Revis did not play because of a concussion.
Coaches and players offered the same "total team effort" refrain, acknowledging it will take a whole village to do the job of one extremely talented man. "With Revis, you could do special things," safety Yeremiah Bell said. "There are certain things you can do when he's on the field that you can't do with other people."
Pettine said running back Joe McKnight, who is learning to be a cornerback on the fly, "absolutely" could see some snaps Sunday against the 49ers. But to make their retooled defense work, Pettine said, the Jets will need better communication in the back end. They also must get an improved pass rush from the linemen, whose pride was hurt after allowing 185 rushing yards against the Dolphins.
The odds may be stacked against the Jets, but safety LaRon Landry was quick to assure reporters: "We're definitely going to be ready."
Notes & quotes: The Jets will induct defensive end Mark Gastineau and wide receiver Wesley Walker into their Ring of Honor on Oct. 8 . . . They added tackle Dennis Landolt to the practice squad and released tackle Paul Cornick.