Darrelle Revis is the best defensive player that Bill Belichick has coached with the Patriots. There I said it.
I bring this up because there was interesting conversation regarding the subject on “Dennis and Callahan” this morning on WEEI, and when you give some thought to this subject, coach Bill hasn’t had that many elite talents on that side of the ball in his time with the Patriots, which makes what this defensive guru has been able to do even more impressive.
There have been Pro-Bowlers like Ty Law, Richard Seymour, and Teddy Bruschi. There have been guys that showed flashes of incredible talent but were often injured like Willie McGinnest or Rodney Harrison, but none of these guys will get serious Hall of Fame consideration. Revis is already a virtual lock at this point in his career, and he’s only 28.
I was afforded a chance to watch Revis practice earlier this month, and his natural athletic ability is eye popping.
He is a master of positioning his body in a way that gives him access to the football. What is perhaps more impressive is his ability to read a quarterback’s eyes and guess correctly on routes. He was matched up against a variety of wide receivers as well as Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo in seven-on-seven drills and nothing was close to being caught. Revis barely had to move his arms, actually, as the passers either elected to throw the ball out of reach of their receivers or, more often, to not try Revis at all.
That is where Revis’s value truly lies. He’s the first player that Belichickhas had on the defensive side of the ball where his reputation precedes him (since Lawrence Taylor). Revis’s interception numbers have been consistently down for the last few years, and that’s not because he’s any less of a payer, but rather the fact that offensive coordinators have determined that it’s a better idea to not even attempt a play in his direction. Ideally, you will never hear Revis’s name. You won’t even know that he’s on this team until the analysts on TV telestrate how he takes away half of the field for the opposing offense.
We have never seen Belichick have such an unusual talent to work with on the Patriots, so if this is anything short of Revis’s best season as a pro, I will be disappointed. We’ve been hearing for years about how Bill is a defensive genius; a guru that can evaluate talent and win with the “bottom third” of a roster that is better than anyone else’s. Well now he has the premier player at his position, who is on a one year deal, to work with, so expectations need to be through the roof. Don’t expect to be able to judge Revis on stats, but rather on how little we hear about him during a game. If he is to truly make this defense elite, he will do so by quietly giving them one less threat to worry about.
Tags: New England Patriots