Break it Down: Why Geno Smith had better be watching tape on Darrelle Revis
If he’s healthy, former New York Jets and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Darrelle Revis is clearly one of the best — if not the best — at his position. Revis trails speed receivers as well as anyone we’ve ever seen, and he’s very savvy when it comes to baiting quarterbacks, playing off of intended receivers and then closing to the ball when the quarterback did not expect him to. When Revis was making hay for the Jets from 2007 through ’11 (he missed most of the 2012 season with a knee injury), he was the pointman for a defense with all sorts of different looks from front to back, and though Tampa Bay’s defensive concepts will be different, the point is still the same: When your main receiver is covered by Revis, you must know Revis’ tendencies.
Tape study generally helps a lot with things like that … but according to Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith — who faces Revis’ Bucs on Sunday — that’s not part of the plan.
“I mean, I don’t think it’s necessary,” Smith told the New York Daily News on Wednesday. “Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. You pretty much get the idea of what kind of player he is based on his reputation. I mean, we all know about Revis.
“Basically from talking to Mark [Sanchez], talking to our personnel guys around here. If you talk to anyone in this locker room they’ll let you know [that a] healthy [Revis is] one of the best if not the best corner in the game. He’s the guy you definitely have to pay attention to on the field.”
Now, before we go completely off the cliff regarding Smith’s seemingly lackadaisical attitude regarding tape study on Revis, we should remember two things: First, players often try to slow-roll the media, and Smith may be cramming as much old Revis tape into his brain as humanly possible. Second, the Jets’ staff will give Smith certain tips and clues regarding Revis’ tendencies, and they’ll know what those tendencies are better than anyone else. Unless the plan is just to avoid Revis and whomever he covers, and Smith wouldn’t be the first quarterback instructed to stay the heck off of Revis Island no matter what.
Still, the statement is curious. Revis found it especially humorous.
“I don’t understand why he didn’t study me, because I will be on the opposite side. But I don’t know what their gameplan is or what their preparation is and personally, I don’t know what Geno’s preparation is. But I would hope that if you’re playing against another opponent, you should study everybody on the opposing team. If that’s the case, that’s the case. I’m studying him. Just to let him know, I’m studying him. I guess we’ll just leave it at that.”
When it comes to Revis’ on-field acumen and how it plays out on the field, one play always comes to mind — his game-saving interception of a Tony Romo pass in the Jets’ 27-24 win over the Dallas Cowboys in the 2011 season opener for both teams. With 59 seconds left in the game, the Jets set up a trap call, looking to lure Romo into thinking that he had receiver Dez Bryant covered by Revis with no help over the top. In a case like that, the thought would be for Revis to keep pace with Bryant down the sideline — he wouldn’t turn to focus on the ball because if he loses the footrace, Bryant has an easy trek into the end zone.
Revis has been baiting quarterbacks, and playing beautifully in disguised NFL coverages, since Geno Smith was throwing it around at Miramar High School in Florida. And if Smith wants to survive the Revis induction, he’d better be cramming for finals all week.