On Thursday, Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis bristled at the suggestion that he didn’t truly handle Pats receiver Randy Moss one-on-one in the Week Two showdown between New England and New York.
The dispute emerged because reporters asked Revis about the observation of Pats coach Bill Belichick that Revis had help “over the top.”
Though it’s rare that a defense would provide no safety help for a cornerback covering one of the top receivers in the league, the question of whether Revis operated during that game as a true shutdown/take-away-half-the-field cornerback seems to depend on whether he truly covered Moss completely on his own.
And it appears that Revis didn’t.
A scout with access to the “all-22” film has reviewed at our request the 77 offensive snaps taken by the Patriots in that game. Under the express caveat that interpreting the film requires some subjectivity due to efforts to disguise coverage, here’s what the source had to say.
On seven of the plays, the Jets used “some sort of true double coverage” (i.e., two defenders assigned to Moss), with the corner being joined by a safety. For most of the other 70 plays, the source noticed consistent evidence that Revis was getting assistance behind him.
“The Jets scheme typically was to have their corners be very aggressive
with Moss at the line of scrimmage by jamming, rerouting, and using the
sideline,” the source said. “It appears that, throughout most of the game, there was a
safety lingering over the top in some sort of zone.
“Most of the
coverages were some sort of man under with the safeties playing zone
over the top. This makes it easier for the corners because they can be
more physical underneath with the receivers because they realize that
someone is behind them covering the deep zone passes if the receiver
gets behind. This is not a true double coverage, but it is
generally understood that there is a good chance that a corner will
have help down the field.”
Also, Revis didn’t draw Moss on every single play. In one instance, linebacker Bart Scott lined up over Moss in press coverage, with safety Jim Leonhard backing Scott up.
“A lot is just semantics and interpretation,” the source said. “Were the Jets truly double covering Moss all over the field? No. Did they favor him on most plays? Yes.”
The source made a few other observations that could be relevant to Sunday’s rematch.
“[Patriots quarterback Tom] Brady played like shit,” the source said. “He was not accurate and appeared flustered. The game was early, he was coming off a knee [injury], and he is playing way better now.”
The source also opined that the Pats’ offensive game plan “sucked,” pointing out that New England “did not really challenge down the field and the Jets were allowed to dictate the game on defense by doing what they wanted to do.”
And then there’s the fact that Moss has been playing of late like it’s 1999.
“Moss looked slow” the source said of the Week Two performance. “I think his back may have been an issue. Or he was frustrated. He, too, is healthy now.”
Bottom line from the source? “I think the Jets were lucky to play the Patriots so early. And when was the last time New England lost two games to a divisional opponent in any given season?”
That’s a good question. So we looked it up. The Pats haven’t been swept by an AFC East rival since 2000, Bill Belichick’s first year in Foxborough. That season, the Pats lost to the Jets twice (20-19 and 33-17) and the Dolphins twice (10-3 and 27-24).
So it probably would make sense to get Moss on your fantasy team this week. Maybe the person who owns Moss in my league would be interested in Ronnie Brown. . . .