MOBILE, Ala. — It remains to be seen if Darrelle Revis will be on the Jets’ roster in 2017, but if he is, the team’s new defensive backs coach believes Revis has the skill set to transition to safety if need be.
“You have to be able to see the whole field,” Dennard Wilson said at the Senior Bowl on Wednesday, adding that the most challenging facet of the position switch is adjusting to “angles tackling” and “the physicality” of the safety position. “But Darrelle is a guy that has a lot of football intelligence. He’s always had that, so I wouldn’t think it would be a problem for him to pick it up.”
Wilson should know. The former Rams defensive backs coach, who briefly played for the Redskins after going undrafted in 2004, said he played cornerback before switching to safety.
Whether Revis stays a Jet remains to be seen, but Wilson had high praise for him, despite Revis’ declining play this season. “I think Darrelle is a hell of a player,” Wilson said of the cornerback, who had one interception and five passes defensed in 15 games. The Jets could choose to cut Revis before the second day of the new league year March 10 in an effort to save $9 million in salary-cap space.
“He has always been a hell of a player. But in terms of Darrelle being there or not being there, that’s not on me. I don’t have anything to do with it. If he’s in the building, I’m going to coach the hell out of him and hopefully we get the results we both want.”
Wilson, 34, spent “two or three days” at the Jets’ facility in Florham Park before he and other members of the coaching staff traveled to the Senior Bowl. As a result, he has yet to watch game tape of the Jets’ 2016 season. But his plan is to watch all of their games when he returns to New Jersey in order to see “what guys can do and what they can’t do.”
So far, though, he likes what he sees from coach Todd Bowles and the team.
“I love his approach on defense,” Wilson said. “From afar, I’ve always respected the work he’s done. The Jets have always had a great organization, it’s on the East Coast, closer to back home [Marlboro, Maryland], and I thought they were building something great there, so I’m able to come and be a part of it.”
The Jets went 5-11 and struggled mightily on defense, particularly their secondary. They finished 17th in pass defense, allowing 243.6 yards a game. The Rams were 10th (233.2 yards).
But Wilson believes the Jets have all the pieces to be successful.
“This defense plays reckless, they play tough, they’re physical and they stop the run,” he said. “If you can do that, and you can clean up the back end, and the ball doesn’t travel over your head, you have a great opportunity to be one of the top 10 defenses in the league.
“It’s my job to come in and make sure the ball doesn’t travel over our heads, get the guys dialed in, have a cohesive unit and everything else will fall into place . . . As a coach, your resume is the way your players play and I feel like our [Rams] guys last year, they did a pretty good job.”