If you were going to hand out a training camp MVP award, I don’t know if anyone could argue if it went to Darrelle Revis. And while Revis has been absolutely outstanding day in and day out, Antonio Cromartie has played awfully well in the shadows of No. 24.
There is nothing Revis can’t do on his Island. When we caught up with Michael Irvin this week, “The Playmaker” was effusive in his praise.
“He’s such a great corner. Watch him,” said the Hall of Famer who won three rings with the Dallas Cowboys. “He’s strong and his weight is positioned the right way. His feet never come that high off the ground. That means what? That means he always has ground contact. What do you need to cut? Ground contact. What do you have to do? React to receivers quickly. If my feet never come high, I’m in a position to react. It’s just phenomenal, all the little things he does, and he does them so well.”
Revis reads well and transitions effortlessly. If he guesses and a receiver gets a step, he can recover in an instant. He is a beast at the line and possesses great ball skills. The lasting image of camp for me was Mark Sanchez spotting a seemingly open Jeremy Kerley up the right sideline and rifling a ball in his direction. But in the split second that it took the ball to travel, Revis went to the phonebooth, put on his cape and extended to cut down the separation before hauling in an incredible interception.
“He’s just a tough player. He’s nasty, man. He’s so sharp,” Sanchez said. “He reads routes so well. He can react so well. His instincts are probably the best in the league, so it’s great practice for me.
“They keep saying, ‘The Revis rule, the Revis rule.’ Me, that’s my chance to try and get after him in practice. That’s when I can see what you can try to fit in, what you can get by with — and there’s not much. He keeps you sharp, he keeps you accurate. And when you’re not, he’ll make you pay.”
And that’s exactly what makes Revis special. Sure, he plays hard on Sundays, but he is possessed on the practice field.
“Not only is he the best corner in football — he might be the best practice player in football,” said defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. “He sets such a great example for our guys to come in here that all they have to do is look to him to see what it is to be a professional. He’s great in the meeting room and he’s great in the locker room. When he steps away from the building, he still has football on his mind and he prepares. When he steps on the field, it’s all business.”
After Revis and Irvin chatted for an NFL Network interview, I asked Irvin (a physical monster himself who played at 6’2”, 207) how he and Troy Aikman would approach going against the 5’11”, 198-pound Jets dynamo.
“We’re going to have to carefully game-plan exactly how we attack Darrelle. First of all, I can’t go through a game without you not throwing any balls my way. You’re not going to do that, so that’s out,” he said. “I am going to remove that, though, but we would have to stretch hard, look hard, work hard and try to game-plan against him.”
Add it all up and you can expect plenty of receivers to go missing on Revis Island once again in 2011.
Increased Aggression from “Cro”
Pettine told newyorkjets.com he likes what he’s seen from Cromartie thus far across from Revis. Even though the coaching staff didn’t have contact with Cro during the work stoppage, they worked on a project to help him if he re-signed with the Green & White.
“We’re very fortunate. We feel we have two No. 1 corners,” Pettine said. “The biggest criticism of Cro coming into the season was his not using his superior size and his long reach to get his hands on receivers. Dennis Thurman and Jim O’Neil did a real nice job during the lockout — they put together a cut-up of ‘Here is where you put your hands on receivers and here’s where you didn’t and these were the results.’ ”
When Cromartie re-upped with the Jets and returned to the facility, he was presented with the tape and the response has been a more physical approach at the line. Cromartie told reporters that he was going to play with a chip on his shoulder and he has been true to his word.
“I think it was very glaring to him that when he got his hands on receivers, by and large they didn’t catch a ball. The quarterback would look the other way. When he gave them free access, then that’s when we had some issues,” Pettine said. “I think he’s really taken that to heart and you can see his increased aggression, especially from his press technique, and I think it’s going to pay dividends for us.”
Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Darrelle Revis, Michael Irvin, Mike Pettine, NFL Network, Troy Aikman
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