Tag:Darrelle Revis
Posted on: December 21, 2011 2:46 pm

Film Room: Jets vs. Giants Christmas eve preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

This Christmas Eve battle carries significant playoff implications for both New York teams. With the hype already built in, we can get right to the breakdown.

1. Rex Ryan
The loquacious third-year head coach has already said his is the better team in this game and if that “better team” loses, the blame will be on him. That would make two weeks in a row.

Rarely do we call out a coaching staff in Film Room posts; it’s dicey given the depth of preparation and various subtle and unknown factors that go into a gameplan. But rarely do we see one staff thoroughly outwit another staff the way Andy Reid and his crew did against Ryan & Co. last week.

The Eagles offensive line and backs had no trouble stoning the Jets’ blitzes. That’s noteworthy given that Philly’s front five and LeSean McCoy have been inconsistent in blitz pickup this season. With Jim Leonhard injured, the Jets had to scale back their coverages. They may have scaled too far back; Michael Vick, a poor field reader, diagnosed the Jets’ secondary with ease.

Afterwards, there were reports that Eagles receivers were calling out the coverages prior to the snap. In most of those instances, the Eagles were aligned in spread formations, which widened the Jets defense. That gave Vick clearer looks and, as NFL Matchup Show executive producer Greg Cosell pointed out, it dictated some favorable blocking advantages for the Eagles run game. Instead of adjusting and being proactive, the Jets stagnated and became reactive.

2. Giants run game vs. Jets D
Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine are two of the best in the business. It’s unlikely they’ll be flat two games in a row. It helps that they’re facing a Giants offense that can’t run the ball. When the Giants do attempt to run (and they will), it won’t be from spread formations like the Eagles. They’re a power run team that girth over quickness up front and relies on fullbacks and tight ends on the edges and lead-blocks.

The Jets are tailored to stop this brand of rushing. Nose tackle Sione Pouha will command extra attention inside, leaving one-on-one mismatches for either Muhammad Wilkerson (a fast-rising rookie with a willowy frame and improved explosiveness) or Mike DeVito (a low-to-the-ground energy guy with an underrated burst).

That’s just in the trenches. At the second level, the Jets linebackers present even greater problems. About the only way to beat them is to make them guess wrong (solid, assertive veteran Bart Scott especially can misdiagnose and overreact at times). The Giants running backs, however, have not proven fleet enough this season to trust on draws, counters or other misdirection runs.
Ballard and Keller have been safety valves for their QBs this season. (Getty Images)

3. Tight Ends
In recent weeks, Jake Ballard has evolved from a lumbering but effective seam pass-catcher to something of a potent all-around receiver. He runs a wider variety of routes than anyone would have guessed and is more than a dumpoff option for Eli Manning. One reason for this could be because defenses have been more inclined to double the Giants receivers outside.

The Jets may not have to double given they can match Darrelle Revis on Hakeem Nicks. But that doesn’t mean Ballard won’t be a significant factor Sunday. The Jets linebackers are not particularly comfortable in coverage, and Manning may even like the matchup of Ballard on safety Eric Smith.

Because the Jets corners play so much man, they’re not going to be too responsive to play-action (the corners are outside and watching the receiver, not inside where they can see the quarterback and linemen carry out fakes). Thus, when Manning does fake a handoff, it’s likely Ballard’s defender is the one he’ll be trying to manipulate.

For the Jets, tight end Dustin Keller is critical because, as you’re about to read, he’s Mark Sanchez’s safety valve.

4. Jets passing game
The Giants are usually willing to cover tight ends with linebackers, especially if nickel ‘backer Jacquian Williams is on the field. It’s possible, though, that they’ll find a way to put a safety on Keller.

He’s often Sanchez’s go-to guy in passing situations. This is gold star for Keller, but more than that, it’s a black checkmark for Sanchez. Because he’s as jittery in the pocket and as unreliable in his progressions as he was his rookie year, the Jets’ passing attack is full of simplified one-read plays. A lot of those one-read plays – rollouts, short drag patterns, flairs to the flats, short hooks, etc. – naturally target a tight end. It helps that Sanchez, for all his short-comings, is superb throwing quickly between the numbers.

The Jets have not been able to consistently incorporate their wide receivers in the passing game this season. Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress have not gone over 50 yards receiving in the same game since Week 1. Four times they’ve both been held to 40 yards or less. Some of that is on them (Burress, in particular, has had trouble getting separation as of late), but most of that is on Sanchez and an offensive line that, thanks to right tackle Wayne Hunter, can’t always sustain protection for a seven-step drop.

Perhaps this is the week the receivers come to life. One of them – likely Holmes – will be blanketed by Corey Webster, but the other will get to face either Aaron Ross or Prince Amukumara, two players who have struggled, especially in man coverage.

5. Jets run game
If turnovers hadn’t put the Jets in such an early hole at Philadelphia, we probably would be talking not about Rex Ryan getting outcoached but about Shonn Greene running all over the Eagles D.

The Jets ground game has had some juice in recent weeks. Greene is finally playing downhill, and the line, anchored by indomitable center Nick Mangold, has done a good job hiding its weaknesses and highlighting its strengths (examples: simple pull-blocks for left guard Matt Slauson, running off and not behind finesse left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, tight ends lining up on the right so that Hunter can maximize his raw strength as a strict north/south blocker, etc.).

The Giants, with their iffy linebacking unit, are not a staunch run defense (though second-year end Jason Pierre-Paul is coming close to singlehandedly changing that).

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 8 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: December 11, 2011 6:41 pm
Edited on: December 11, 2011 6:46 pm

Report: Leonhard tore PCL, done for the season

J. Leonhard might have suffered a PCL tear in his right knee (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

For the second season in a row, it appears that Jets safety Jim Leonhard has suffered a season-ending injury.

That’s what Rapid Reporter Lisa Zimmerman has confirmed, writing that Leonhard is feared to have suffered a PCL tear in his right knee. He’ll undergo an MRI on Monday to make the final determination.

Leonhard was injured in the second quarter of the Jets win against the Chiefs after he intercepted a Tyler Palko pass. As soon as the play was complete, Leonhard needed to be helped off the field -- without putting any weight on his right leg -- and carted away to the locker room.

After the game, cornerback Darrelle Revis told reporters that the rumor on the sideline during the game was that Leonhard had suffered a season-ending injury during his interception.

It’s the same leg Leonhard broke late last year during a Jets practice that kept him out the rest of the season.

"I'm hopeful it's not too bad," coach Rex Ryan told reporters after the game. "But it's never good when you need help coming off (the field)."

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Posted on: November 18, 2011 10:02 am

Tebow leaves Jets in state of shock

Rex Ryan's decision to call an all-out blitz late was a bad one (US Presswire).

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

While Tebow-mania descended upon Denver following the Broncos 17-13 win against the Jets on Thursday, the atmosphere inside New York’s locker room was a smidge different. Coach Rex Ryan, during his postgame presser, looked devastated and emotional, and there was an element of disbelief sprinkled among the players as they dressed for their trip home.

"I'm just so shocked right now," Revis said, via Newsday. "The only thing I can say is he ran the offense the best way he could and they ended up driving on us on that touchdown drive. He did it. Tim Tebow did it. He shocked me. He probably shocked a lot of people. But he did it."

Considering Revis said earlier in the week that Tebow running the option couldn’t work for a whole season and that “the biggest thing for the secondary is for us not to fall asleep,” Revis must have really been surprised by Tebow’s ability to lead his team on a game-winning 95-yard drive.

While Rex Ryan literally wrote the book on how to stop the read-option, the Jets made a critical mistake on the Broncos final offensive play of the game. With Denver facing a third and four from the Broncos 20-yard line, the Jets sent a full-out blitz up the middle of the line -- eight defenders rushed the quarterback -- but Tebow immediately recognized it, scrambled left, beat safety Eric Smith to the outside and raced to the end zone.

Tebow Tebows the Jets
"Obviously, a critical error," Ryan said. "But Tebow made the play. We thought that play was coming, but we never got it defended."

Afterward, Ryan was asked about the thought process behind the decision to blitz, and he said (again, via Newsday), “I’d rather not.”

That’s because the play-call was a bit strange if the Jets were actually expecting the run. Which they were. If they thought Tebow was going to pass, an all-out blitz would have been a fine call. But that’s not what New York thought was going to happen. Which makes the play-call suspect.

"You don't bring all-out pressure when you expect the run,” Smith said. "We just run what's called. It's really frustrating. It's a letdown. It's a bad feeling."

“It's one of those things where you just have to catch him, because nobody else is around. It's frustrating when you play like that and you get to that last drive and they go 95 yards and you can't stop them."

Aha, that’s the power of Tebow Time. And for now, nobody is quite sure how to stop it. Not even the guy who wrote the book.

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Posted on: November 18, 2011 10:02 am
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Posted on: November 17, 2011 4:39 pm

Report: Willis McGahee to play Thursday night

Posted by Will Brinson

Thursday night, a week's worth of smack-talk and questions about the read-option offense will culminate in a Jets-Broncos matchup (pregame it right here) that could set offense back 40 years.

Helping Denver's cause on Thursday is the fact that running back Willis McGahee, who left Week 10 in the first quarter with a hamstring injury, will reportedly play on Thursday.

That's according to Jason LaCanfora of the NFL Network, who writes that "barring a setback in warm ups prior to kickoff" McGahee will be good to go.

McGahee was critical to the Broncos win over the Raiders in Week 9, rumbling for 163 yards and two touchdowns. Lance Ball carried the rock 32 times against the Chiefs in Week 10 after McGahee left the game, but wasn't nearly as effective. John Fox said recently that McGahee could have re-entered the game against the Raiders in an emergency.

And the Jets, whose coach wrote the book on stopping the read-option, represent a much more difficult challenge defensively than either Oakland or Kansas City.

McGahee was listed as questionable all week long, but John Fox said it was possible he could play. Provided McGahee can play and be effective, Denver's decision to keep him out for the rest of the matchup against the Raiders appears to have been the correct one.

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Posted on: November 16, 2011 8:46 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 9:07 pm

Eric Decker's girlfriend to sing at NYJ-DEN game

Should he score, Decker has no plans to present his girlfriend with a football. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

There are any number of reasons to watch Thursday night's matchup between the Jets and Broncos: will Tim Tebow win for the fourth time in five starts? Will Rex Ryan unleash the 46 Defense on Denver's new(old)-fangled read-option? Will Darrelle Revis fall asleep on the field?

Enquiring minds want to know and all that. If you don't find any of this compelling, there's this very hard-hitting news angle: Jessie James will be performing during halftime. No, not that James. Or that one.

This one. (It's a MySpace page! How cute.)

You know, the country music singer who also happens to be dating Tim Tebow's favorite target: Denver wide receiver Eric Decker. (He caught one of Tebow's two passes last week -- a 56-yard touchdown strike, no less -- and he was targeted on two or three other occasions.It immediately reminded us of Montana and Rice, too.)

Decker was asked Wednesday about the halftime show.

"Who's the halftime entertainer? Some lady, a beautiful girl?" he asked, according to the Associated Press. "I'm excited. I wish I could sneak out, but don't tell Coach Fox. I've got somebody recording it for me.

"We were there yesterday for her last rehearsal, and it was fun seeing her out there. She's just getting back into it, she took a little time off to write her record and now she's getting back into it."

So that happened.

What won't happen, however, is a repeat performance of Bills wide receiver David Nelson's touchdown celebration last week in Dallas. He hugged Cowboys cheerleader Kelsi Reich and then presented here with the football. Nelson and Reich are dating (no word on if they have a MySpace page).

"She's going to be up in one of those suites," Decker explained of James. "So, I'm not climbing the wall and trekking up there. Maybe I'll throw it to her."

Or you could have Tebow deliver it.

Better yet: if things really get serious, have Tebow propose for you. No, seriously: 

From the YouTube description (March 2010): "This is Tim Tebow helping Ian Lis propose to his new fiance Sarah Springer... Tebow had the ring for 45 minutes waiting for the couple to come up and take a photo with him and his Heisman Trophy. He was more than happy to help make the occasion one they will never forget." 

Yep, that's how Tebow rolls.

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Posted on: November 15, 2011 6:20 pm
Edited on: November 16, 2011 5:55 am

Revis on option working with Tebow: 'No'

Posted by Will Brinson

Two starts into the Read-Option Era (it's a subset of the Tim Tebow Era) in Denver, we have empirical evidence that John Fox's new offense works. Despite that, there's still plenty of skepticism from folks around the NFL how long the Broncos' run can last.

One such skeptic? Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, who had some pretty bold words about Denver's read-option offense following practice on Tuesday.

"The biggest thing for the secondary is for us not to fall asleep," Revis said, per Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News. "We can't fall asleep back there in the secondary. It can get boring, especially if a team keeps on just running the ball, series after series, play after play."

That's not to say that Revis thinks the read-option couldn't work -- he thinks it can if you put the right personnel in place.

"Yeah, if you have Michael Vick and Chris Johnson at running back,” Revis said. "Yeah, it can work. Those are probably the two fastest guys that can get out on the edge."

But with Tebow? Revis isn't quite as confident. Well, actually, he's quite confident. Just not in the Broncos.

Recapping Week 10

"No. Not for a whole season," Revis said. "We know what they're doing. And we feel comfortable in our game plan.”"

As my colleague Ryan Wilson noted earlier Wednesday, Jets coach Rex Ryan wrote the book -- literally -- on stopping the read-option offense, utilizing his father's 46 defense. Knowing that, it's understandable why the Jets would be confident heading into their Thursday night matchup, even if they are still licking their wounds from getting beat down by the Patriots and playing on a short week.

But don't worry, the criticism and skeptics and doubters don't bother Tebow.

"No, not really," Tebow said when asked if he was bothered by Revis' comments. "He’s a great player and I’m looking forward to playing him."

The best line of the week, though, still belongs to Ryan, who joked that he'd like to see more of the read-option around the NFL ... from certain teams.

"I’d make a recommendation to New England to go to this style of offense with Brady," Ryan joked Tuesday. "That would be good."

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:50 pm

Keep an Eye on: Week 10's finer analysis

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

Jets vs. Patriots

The recipe for stopping New England’s offense has been discovered: press-man coverage. The Cowboys pressed the Patriots receivers off-and-on back in Week 6. The Steelers did it all game in Week 8. So did the Giants in Week 9. New England scored 16, 17 and 20 in those three games.

Think the Jets might be ale to execute press-man coverage? (Ask the Bills receivers whose white uniforms had practically turned light green by the end of last week’s game.) When these teams met back in Week 5, Darrelle Revis shadowed Wes Welker, though not the entire game. Welker caught a few balls during the breathers away from Revis, including a 73-yarder that gave him a misleading five-catch, 124-yard stat line.

After that game teams may have realized that with Welker bottled up, the Patriots are just another methodical east-west passing team. New England’s offense has no downfield weapon to preoccupy defenses about getting burned over the top. Deion Branch is quick but not fast. Aaron Hernandez, if he regains his pre-Week 3 knee injury form, is fleet for a tight end but not someone who can blaze 40 yards outside the numbers. Ditto for Rob Gronkowski.

There is that Chad Ochocinco guy. He and Brady have not been on the same page all season (Brady actually missed an open Ocho for a would-be touchdown last week; Ocho couldn’t get mad because he owed Brady for other mistakes). The disappointing but charismatic ex-Bengal may actually be the deciding piece in this game. Someone has to step up and be a downfield threat. The last person aslow underneath offense wants to face is Rex Ryan; he knows how to use his safeties as blitzers.

Cowboys vs. Bills
The Cowboys can forget about the fragile Felix Jones becoming their next franchise running back. When Jones returns from his ankle injury (hopefully sometime before his next scheduled injury in December), he’ll be backing up DeMarco Murray. The third-round rookie from Oklahoma State is averaging 6.7 yards per carry and looks like the real deal. It was difficult to assess him after his 253-yard outbreak against St. Louis because, as Murray himself will admit, a truck could have driven through the holes Dallas’ offensive line opened up that game.

But last week Murray registered 139 yards against a quietly impressive Seattle run defense that’s allowing just 3.4 yards per carry (tied for second best in the NFL). He has a unique ability to generate downhill momentum immediately upon hitting his accelerator.

Because of this, Murray can explode to holes before linebackers can identify them or, more often, he can increase his tempo upon reaching those linebackers, which makes him extremely hard to tackle.

For the Bills (and all defenses), the key to stopping Murray will be penetration. Murray has the ability to go left and right, but he has to stop and restart in order to do so. You can’t let him go north and south.

It hurts that Buffalo’s best defensive lineman, Kyle Williams, just went on injured reserve. He was a penetration extraordinaire who would have changed the complexion of this matchup. Marcell Dareus has been impressive since relocating to nose tackle, but the Bills are now thin on the edges and may start waffling again between 3-4 and 4-3 concepts if forced to make another personnel adjustment.

Seahawks vs. Ravens
It’s a classic trap game for the Ravens. Coming off a big primetime win against their archrival, they must fly across the country for an unceremonious bout with a 2-6 team from another conference. And it’s not an awful 2-6 team, either. OK, maybe the offense is awful. Or at least as uninspiring as an Andy Reid press conference. But the defense isn’t bad.

Last week’s stumble at Dallas aside, Seattle’s defense can stop the run. The defensive line has a strong rotation of high-energy players who have the strength to win in a phone booth (end Red Bryant has been the most impressive in this sense). Middle linebacker David Hawthorne reads and pursues well enough, and outside linebackers K.J. Wright and Leroy Hill can both play with physicality on the edge.

On the back end, young safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas are still learning to play with consistency (both mentally and physically). Both, however, offer some playmaking prowess versus in the box or downhill. Cornerback Brandon Browner is a bit stiff but has rare 6’3”, 221-pound-size that he’s just starting to learn to apply at the line of scrimmage. Richard Sherman has, for the most part, been able to back up his bizarre cockiness ever since injuries propelled him into the starting lineup.

Lastly, Seattle has a clear-cut Pro Bowler (their only Pro Bowler, in fact) in end Chris Clemons. He’s fast off the edge (like any quality pass-rusher) and also has a strong suppleness that makes him viable in all facets against the run.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 10 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com