Darrelle Revis is still one of NFL’s best corners

Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis isn't as good as he once was, but he's still PFF's No. 3 cornerback this season.

| 12 months ago
(Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)

(Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)

Darrelle Revis is still one of NFL’s best corners

When the Jets signed Darrelle Revis this offseason, I wrote a piece saying that the tape showed that Revis was slowing down. While that certainly is true to a certain extent, as we are seeing cracks in his façade that weren’t there in the past, it’s also true that he is still one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.

Revis is now our No. 3 CB on the season, trailing only Carolina’s Josh Norman and Arizona’s Tyrann Mathieu (who even though he is listed as a safety plays the overwhelming majority of his snaps at CB).

Revis has allowed only 46.5 percent of the passes sent his way to be caught, has surrendered only 253 yards and when targeted is yielding a passer rating of only 44.0. He has yet to be beaten for a pass longer than 33 yards on the season, and has only allowed 20 receptions over eight games.

There is little doubt that he is still one of the league’s best cornerbacks and is a huge asset for a Jets team that would be struggling otherwise on the back end with neither Buster Skrine nor Antonio Cromartie able to muster anything positive in coverage.

Against Jacksonville, Revis posted his best grade of the season, though it may not have looked that way without paying close attention. Revis spent most of his time covering Allen Robinson, who ended the game with six catches for 121 yards on his 11 targets. That would be a pretty big day against any corner, but Revis fared much better individually when matched up with Robinson.

When Revis was the covering defender, Robinson caught only two of the seven passes sent his way, the same number as Revis broke up himself — although Robinson did get him for a 33-yard pass, the longest play surrendered by Revis this season. In total, Robinson caught two passes for 50 yards against Revis, and four for 71 against the rest of the Jets defense.

There is no doubt that Revis is still an excellent player, but one asterisk to his performance this season would be the relative lack of top quarterbacks he has faced. Tom Brady is the only elite passer playing on a hot streak that Revis has faced, and while Revis played well against Brady, he has also been beaten by QBs on some plays that haven’t shown up in the stat sheet because the quarterback failed to complete the pass.

The first pass play in the Oakland game saw rookie WR Amari Cooper get Revis on a double move, only for Derek Carr to miss the pass over the top.

Revis may still be slowing down, and Revis Island is not quite the inescapable prospect it once was, but he remains one of the league’s best cornerbacks and a tough prospect for any wideout to face each week. That, at least for the Jets, is probably more than enough.

| Senior Analyst

Sam is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus, as well as a contributor to ESPN.

  • Tony Shun Lam

    Thanks for the breakdown. I watched the Bortles week 9 highlights on youtube just to see how Allen Robinson got 121 yards on Revis. Saw both catches on there and noted that 1 of the 2 was from an amazing catch from A. Robinson from shoelace height. On the other hand, the Edelman TD drop and the Garcon TD looked pretty bad for Revis.

    • J

      Darrelle killed it yesterday

  • Anonymous

    I know you wrote this because of our debate last week! Thank you, Sam. Fair assessment although we’ll still have to agree to disagree about that first pass from the game against Oakland.

    If he hadn’t dropped a pick yesterday, it could have been an even better grade/game.

    Related question for DB grading in general, if a corner gets targeted, breaks up the pass and a teammate intercepts it, does that go toward that first guy’s passer rating against or the guy that actually intercepted it? Always wondered about that and it happened yesterday.

    • Jefferson

      The ‘debate’ you refer to was in a Richard Sherman thread, in which you and others tried to qualify Sherman’s lock down of Dez Bryant, saying Dez was injured and had a crappy QB. But a week later Dez gets a 2.4 grade, 100+ yards and 140+ wr rating with the same QB. Would you now like to do the same thing you are claiming Sam is doing (not so sure), and recant?

      • Anonymous

        Well for one, as inexperienced as Bortles is, he’s significantly better than Matt Cassel. If you don’t agree with this, there’s nothing more to say.

        Secondly, I think it’s been well documented that the Eagles corners are atrocious. Dez had one catch until the fourth quarter and the TD was basically a Hail Mary broken play. Did they lock him down too then?

        Third, I’m not sure what it is I’m exactly sure what I’m supposed to recant. I never said Sherman didn’t play well and never said that he didn’t do a good job. Just that context is required (which is provided in this article too) and also and that I felt PFF was partial to certain teams and players. Already gave Sam a shout out about writing this.

        • Jefferson

          You used ‘context’ last week to discredit and devalue Sherman’s performance against Dez. The results this week however confirm you were wrong: that neither injury nor QB play was the decisive factor in Dez getting shut down last week. Sherman was.

          There were other incorrect statements and loony hypotheses you offered in that thread and they were disproven as well. Just thought you might want to own up to it, as you are asking Sam now to do. But nevermind…

          • Anonymous

            Like I said, I just gave props to Sam for writing this. How is that not owning up to it?

            Second, if you don’t believe that QB play greatly affects receivers catching passes then I don’t know what to say. Context is provided in this article when discussing the QBs Revis has faced.

            The Dez-Sherman example is the perfect one. Last season with Romo at QB, Sherman still did an awesome job, but Dez still had 40 receiving yards and drew 2 penalties (of Sherman’s 3 total for the season) for another 30 yards in 2.5 quarters of him shadowing dez. Maybe go back and read some of what I said before calling me “looney”.

  • McGeorge

    Given how godawful Antonio Cromartie is, why throw at Revis. Just run past Cromartie, make a 20 yard reception, and get tackled by the safety (or not).
    Then repeat, until you score.

    • Nik Hildebrand

      This would probably work. Cro would just stare into the backfield while [insert WR here] ran straight past him all day long.