clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

How Will Darrelle Revis Handle Life Inside Against Wes Welker?

New, comments

One area where New England's trade of Randy Moss helps the Jets is that it allows Gang Green to stick Darrelle Revis against Wes Welker since the dangerous weapon that used to occupy him is gone. We might have been heading in this direction anyway considering the problems Welker gave Antonio Cromartie and how well Cromartie fared against Moss in the first meeting. Now there is no question that Revis at least should spend the majority of his time shadowing Tom Brady's favorite target.

While New England spreads the ball around better without Moss, there is no question the passing game revolves around Welker's ability to move the chains. He leads the Pats with 65 catches. The next highest Patriot has 36. Brady has thrown in his direction 90 times. Nobody else has more than 50 targets. You read those numbers correctly. Brady completes an absurd 72% of the passes he throws to Welker. Slowing down the Patriots starts with slowing down Welker. Revis is needed.

Part of the reason the Jets have not been as effective blitzing this year has been Darrelle's health until recently. When Revis had such a great season in 2009, his ability to shut down the other number one receiver bought extra time for the pass rushers. Quarterbacks under pressure want to get the ball out quickly. Their top guy is their first look and is normally a good bet to get open and make a play. Revis covered more picked up blitzes than people realize. So much of New England's offense is based on getting the ball out quickly. Potentially neutralizing Brady's first look to whom he hits almost three quarters of his passes could take the Patriots offense out of rhythm.

Welker usually lines up in the slot. That is an unfamiliar position for Revis. Normally it is the nickel who lines up against the slot receiver. Although Drew Coleman is a vastly improved player from where he was twelve months ago, memories of Welker's 15 catch, 192 yard game against Coleman last year should limit the temptation to stick Drew on him too often. Revis has been a starter on the Jets from day one as a rookie and seldom seen action inside. Most of the time it has been when teams have stuck elite receivers just as unaccustomed to working in the slot just to try and hide them from Revis or at least give them a little extra room off the line.

Playing on the outside means going against more vertical patterns. There aren't many horizontal routes because guys are lined up so far to the outside that those routes would take too long to develop. There is also only one way to run. The sideline helps the defender. Working in the slot is totally different. Receivers start near the middle of the field. There is more space to run sideways. The receiver is free to run in either direction. There is also more traffic, which limits the deep routes. They also take a bit longer to run since the receiver starts behind the line of scrimmage. It will be different for Revis. Nobody can say how he will handle it.

My guess, though, is he will do extremely well. He's the best there is.