Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis during practice at the Atlantic Health...

Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis during practice at the Atlantic Health practice facility. (May 24, 2012) Credit: Joe Epstein

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- It was a beautifully thrown ball, the sort of spiral the Jets coaching staff loves to see from Mark Sanchez.

His target, Jeremy Kerley, caught it and broke toward the outside, just as the final seconds of the two-minute drill ticked by. But there on the goal line was Darrelle Revis.

At 5-11, the cornerback may not seem imposing, but with one motion, he absorbed Kerley's momentum and stuffed the wide receiver dead in his tracks. Having thwarted what appeared to be an easy touchdown, Revis pumped his fist and emphatically chest-bumped members of his secondary.

The defense had won that round, and according to Revis, the unit plans to win many more during the regular season.

"We don't want any team to score on us," he said after Tuesday's's first minicamp practice. "So we have pride when we're playing red-zone defense."

Though the Jets have had a top-five defense in each of Rex Ryan's three seasons, Revis is convinced the unit can return to its 2009 form, when it was ranked No. 1.

"I think a lot of guys on defense felt we failed as a defense a little bit in terms of accomplishing what we wanted to last year," Revis said. "So this year, we're excited. We've got a lot of guys back and we're just ready to play ball."

Only the Steelers, Texans, Ravens and 49ers finished ahead of the Jets' defense (312.1 yards per game) last season. But to several Jets defensive players, that was a failure. "We wanted to be No. 1," Revis said. "Anytime we step on the field, it's just stop opponents as much as we can."

Outside linebacker Aaron Maybin said the defense "definitely fell far short of where we saw ourselves," but thinks it finally has the tools to reclaim the top spot in the NFL. Maybin said it will make significant strides now that he, Muhammad Wilkerson and Kenrick Ellis will have a full offseason to grasp the schemes, and because of the arrival of safeties Yeremiah Bell and LaRon Landry (if healthy) and draft picks Quinton Coples, Demario Davis, Antonio Allen and Josh Bush.

Linebacker Calvin Pace said the defense is getting back to "square one" as if it's Ryan's first day as coach.

"We just reinstalled the defense from the ground up and we're getting some good work," said Pace, who noted new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano's faster practice tempo has helped the defense, too.

Pace also is excited about the frequent use of four-man fronts in practice. "I think it's going to help the secondary a lot," he said. "You put Muhammad and Quinton on the inside, myself and Maybin on the outside, hopefully someone can disrupt the quarterback. It's going to help everybody a lot."

Notes & quotes: Santonio Holmes was limited by a hamstring injury suffered during last week's final OTA session. Holmes, who did light running and agility drills, didn't speak to the media . . . Landry (Achilles) reported to minicamp but did not participate . . . Rookie WR Stephen Hill sat out practice, as did WR DaMarcus Ganaway, RB Bilal Powell (all hamstrings) and TE Brian Linthicum (quadriceps) . . . G Matt Slauson (shoulder) practiced in team drills for the first time this offseason . . . Vladimir Ducasse was at left guard with the first team.

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