|Jets' Revis more comfortable after big rookie year|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 01 August 2008 12:36|
``I was running out there with my head cut off,'' the New York Jets cornerback said with a laugh Friday.
The bold admission was surprising, especially coming from a player who started every game as a rookie and has already established himself as one of the NFL's top young players at his position.
``He got thrown in there with the sharks and he didn't drown,'' safety Kerry Rhodes said. ``He didn't get eaten at all. He did a pretty good job of playing last year. This year, he has a training camp under his belt and a little consistency, so it's going to be good for him.''
Ahh, yes, training camp. Even though Revis is entering his second NFL season, it's really his first camp after missing 20 days last summer as a holdout.
``He's a rookie right now to this training camp thing,'' Rhodes said with a chuckle. ``He's hitting a little wall. It's to be expected since it's his first one. He's a pro. He's competitive. He's going to be OK.''
He sure will, if last season is any indication. Despite the lengthy holdout and missed practice time, Revis quickly earned his way into the starting lineup and finished with 91 tackles, three interceptions and 13 passes defensed. He also routinely went against some of the best receivers in the league.
``I feel like a fifth-year player from what I experienced last year,'' said Revis, who sports an ``Only The Strong Survive'' tattoo on his right arm. ``I was going against Randy Moss and Chad Johnson and a couple of those great receivers.''
Revis, who said Johnson was the toughest to cover, held his own on most weekends - despite his assertion that he was lost at times.
``I think the coaches did a great job of just giving me the basic things to do on defense,'' he said. ``Now, you look at it and you're like, 'Dang, I did this or did that.' They just said it was OK and just be patient.''
The Jets knew they were getting a special player when they traded up in the 2007 draft to take him out of the University of Pittsburgh. After an offseason of hitting the books, improving his footwork and other things he prefers to keep secret - ``I'll just say I did personal stuff. I work hard at what I do.'' - Revis is having a terrific camp this summer.
``I'm a smarter player,'' he said. ``I'm definitely smarter. I'm just a student of the game. I'm getting more wisdom in my brain and listening to Coach and taking heed of it.''
That's for sure. Eric Mangini has been so impressed by Revis that he heaped unsolicited praise - a rarity - on the second-year player.
``You never know what you're going to get from your freshman year to your sophomore year, especially if a guy has got a ton of success,'' Mangini said. ``And Darrelle really did have a nice season last year for such a young guy. And he's responded in ways, as a coach, you're always excited to see.''
Revis feels much more confident whenever he steps on the field.
``I understand the defensive schemes more and I understand what I'm supposed to do at certain times,'' he said. ``Last year, I knew a couple of plays in the playbook and now it's being smarter and learning the whole defense.''
The one area Revis has struggled is returning punts, something that added to his attractiveness during the draft. He didn't return any last season, and has looked tentative in camp - even dropping two Thursday morning.
``That's an area that we've got to keep developing with him,'' Mangini said. ``It would be, I'd say, more of a substitution-type role or a specialty role as opposed to being the primary guy back there.''
Revis looked up to Ty Law while growing up and later Champ Bailey, who both earned the label of ``lockdown corner'' during successful NFL careers. Many believe Revis can develop into a similarly dominant player.
``Lockdown corner? That's a big phrase, and a phrase where you shut it down,'' Revis said. ``You shut everything down. If you're watching the best receiver on somebody's team, you limit him to catches and you just shut him down.''
Revis will likely face another group of talented receivers this season, including Johnson, Moss, Larry Fitzgerald, Torry Holt and Chris Chambers.
``I'm going to do the best I can,'' Revis said. ``That's what I'm going to do. Last year, I went up against some of the best receivers in the NFL. That was good to get that experience that young and being a rookie. Now, coming into my second year, I've got a lot of experience watching those guys.''