With a torn ACL suffered in last Sunday’s game, New York Jets cornerback Darelle Revis will not only miss this week’s game against the San Francisco 49ers, but will miss the rest of the season. Revis suffered the torn ACL against the Dolphins while trying to make a tackle and he will be replaced by third year cornerback Kyle Wilson in Sunday’s game against the 49ers. Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie will move up to the No. 1 spot and will likely be covering Michael Crabtree throughout the game.
No one likes to see an important player on any team go down with an injury, especially one as serious as a torn ACL. However, this is a good thing for the 49ers offense that will undoubtedly have an advantage and will look to exploit it. Revis was the most valuable to the Jets defense by defending effectively against passes of 15 yards or more down the field. Since 2009, the Jets pass defense has only allowed offenses to complete 32% of their passes of at least 15 yards or more, the lowest in the NFL during that span. Alex Smith is not going to be heaving the football down the field for long passes on Sunday because that is not how the 49ers offense is set up. Smith will however be looking to throw passes outside the numbers where he has completed 67.4% of his passes with four touchdowns and zero interceptions this season.
In the 49ers loss to the Vikings, it was a mistake that the 49ers were operating their offense as pass-first, run-second. This won’t happen against the Jets, even with Revis out. While Wilson is not Revis, he will need to duplicate his play of being able to defend out in the open when one-on-one with 49ers receivers. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman will likely not attack Wilson right away, but first set up the running game. This would be a wise approach to a Revis-less Jets defense because they have giving up an average of 148.7 rushing yards a game this season, which ranks 28th in the NFL. Should the 49ers be able to establish their signature power running game early on, this will draw in defenders from the secondary which will leave Wilson and Cromartie vulnerable in one-on-one coverage. As the Jets defense moves more defenders into the box, Roman will start having Smith throw downfield.
Jets head coach Rex Ryan employs a heavy-blitz defense and a huge part of their success had to do with Revis, who has made the Pro Bowl the last four seasons, shutting down No. 1 receivers one-on-one. Ryan will still blitz his defense, but he will be more cautious as this is the first game without Revis and he will want to see how Cromartie and Wilson are able to handle the coverage without Revis on the field. Also, the 49ers have some good receivers in Crabtree, Mario Manningham, Vernon Davis, and yes, even Randy Moss. So Ryan knows he just cannot go all-out blitz against the 49ers offense.
With Revis Island now under water, we will really see how good of a defensive coach Rex Ryan is because the Jets don’t have the personnel to be the same defense and are weaker. The only way I can see the Jets defense beating the 49ers offense is if they can generate a constant pass rush that does not give Alex Smith anytime to look downfield to test the cornerbacks. This will be a tall task for the Jets defense as the 49ers offensive line is one of the best in the NFL and they don’t give up a lot of sacks.
My suggestion for Rex Ryan is to put Tim Tebow in at cornerback.
Darrelle Revis by the Numbers
1: Number of touchdowns Revis gave up in 2011.
45.6: Quarterbacks rating in 2011 when they threw in Revis’ direction.
125.1: Ben Roethlisberger’s QB rating in week 2 against the Jets when Revis missed the game because of a concussion. He threw for 275 yards and two touchdowns in the 27-10 win over the Jets.
4: Number of catches by Dolphins receiver Davone Bess had after Revis was injured in last Sunday’s game.