That thud you may have just heard was the Jets’ season crashing down to earth. The loss of Darrelle Revis for the year to an ACL injury can not be overstated. He means everything to this team – physically and emotionally. Knowing you have the best defensive player in the League behind you does so much for your swagger and confidence as a defense, and the same for the offense. Sanchez and co. knew they wouldn’t have to put up 20+ points every game to win, because Revis and the defense could be counted on stop the other team and quite often, score themselves. That all changed on one very unfortunate (non-contact) play.
Here are a few stats that put things into perspective, courtesy of Rich Cimini at ESPN.com
Last 2 year with Revis – Jets D: 15 TDs, 23 INTs
Last 2 years without Revis in – Jets D: 5 TDs, 0 INTs
This season with Revis: Opponents 54.1 pct completion rate, 1 TD, 4 INTs
This season without Revis: Opponents 62 pct completion rate, 4 TDs, 0 INTs
That about sums it up. And the predictions are flowing in from everywhere. James Walker of ESPN says the Jets season is over. Adam Schefter of ESPN says that according to 10,000 computer simulations of the 2012 season, Revis’ injury drops the Jets’ chances of making playoffs to 37 percent from 54 percent. One player! And the odds makers have made them as 3.5 point underdogs at home to SF this weekend.
The optimist in me says that this is one man on a field of 22. He can be replaced with new strategies and better effort from others. But this isn’t just one man. Revis is one of those rare players that fundamentally changes the other team’s strategy. Nobody in the NFL last year had a lower completion rate of passes thrown his way than Revis. If you’ve ever watched him, he’s one of those players that just looks better than everyone, even on TV. He’s quicker, doesn’t miss tackles and is smart. Beyond the impact he’ll have on the season, I’ll just miss watching the man perfect his craft, week in and week out.
At 27, he’s still in his prime, and seems like the type of athlete that will bounce back. That said, ACL injuries are tricky, and you never know. He’s also entering the last year of his contract in 2013, so there will be a very difficult decision to be made by the Jets’ management. Do you invest 10MM+ a year in a guy who has just come off a major ACL injury?
Rex Ryan has the coaching challenge of his life on his hands. This team is flawed in many ways, but with Revis, they could still win, as they did yesterday, despite those flaws. That will no longer be the case. I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet on the season; there is still a lot of talent on this team. But the challenge just got a whole lot steeper.