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Ryan wants Revis to be leader of Jets' defense

FLORHAM PARK. N.J. - Darrelle Revis probably doesn't have a lot to improve upon on the field after his Pro Bowl-caliber season.

But Rex Ryan threw down the gauntlet for his star cornerback heading into the offseason.

"He's going to be the leader of our defense," Ryan said. "That's what I challenged him with. I want him to be more outspoken. I want him to lead in the weight room, lead on the practice field. Everybody respects him."

Revis quietly and confidently went about his business this season, and business was good out on "Revis Island." In his third season, he emerged as a shutdown cornerback, taking away the opposition's best receivers, from Chad Ochocinco to Randy Moss to Reggie Wayne.

Revis' video study of his opponents helped him break through. Now he says some more video study - this time of his own performances - will help him improve in the months to come.

"I've still got film of every game to evaluate myself, but I guess I managed to do all right," Revis said. "That's my uncle, [former NFL lineman] Sean Gilbert, that's what he said. 'You did all right this year.' It's all about improving.

"I'm hurt. I'm mad about us losing [Sunday]. You try to find ways next year or in years to come to get over that slope and get to the Super Bowl."

The way Ryan sees it, Revis can be to the Jets' defense what Peyton Manning is to the Colts' offense, and he told a little story to illustrate his point.

"[The Colts] draft this running back from Connecticut [Donald Brown], they draft him in the first round and [Manning] calls, and you know the kid had to be like, 'Peyton Manning's on the phone! This is awesome!' " Ryan said. "But Peyton said, 'OK, be here Monday at 8 a.m.' Click. Now that kid . . . [He's] gonna be there at 8 a.m. Monday, there's no doubt. Because Peyton Manning's telling you.

"I think Revis has that kind of stature amongst defensive players. I'm going to lay it out there. David Harris is the best middle linebacker in football right now. So step up. This is your defense . . . Their game is pretty darn good, but maybe that's it, maybe that's how they're going to get better. And how this football team is going to get better."

Revis spoke Mondaybefore Ryan did, so the cornerback wasn't peppered with questions about what the coach wants from him. He did say that "leadership is what's needed from our team."

His season drew all kinds of positive attention from around the league. His next step is to turn toward his teammates and get them to follow him.

"People in this game, they want to try and beat you and compete every week," he said. "You just relax and enjoy it. I just have to make sure I'm well-prepared for this upcoming season."

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