N.Y Jets star Darrelle Revis, widely considered to be the best cornerback in the NFL, tore the ACL in his left knee and will need season-ending surgery.
A MRI examination confirmed the Jets’ worst fears, leaving their fighting defense without its best player. Revis will wait 2 to 3 weeks before having the surgery, the team declared. The usual recovery time for ACL surgery is 6 to 9 months.
A somber Rex Ryan made the statement at his 12 pm meeting, admitting he had a hunch the MRI would reveal bad news after talking with a downcast Revis on the team’s flight home from South Florida. He said the team doctor indicated after the game it was likely a significant injury.
“Is it a major blow when you lose a great player like Darrelle Revis? Of course, absolutely it is,” Ryan said. “But this is a football team.”
Ryan stopped before saying Revis will be put on season-ending injured reserve, but that’s only academic at about that point. The Jets, who created a roster spot Monday by waiving backup defensive tackle Marcus Dixon, are expected to investigate the free-agent and trade markets for a veteran corner, according to a source.
Revis, who returned to action Sunday after missing Week 2 with a concussion, was hurt late in quarter 3 of the Jets’ 23-20 overtime win over the Miami Dolphins.
It was a non-contact injury on the grass surface; his left knee buckled as he tried to get into position to tackle RB Daniel Thomas on a screen pass. Revis went down on a cut block by center Mike Pouncey, but the injury occurred before the block, according to Ryan.
2010 first-round pick Kyle Wilson, the nickelback, will replace Revis in the starting lineup. Beyond Wilson and fellow starter Antonio Cromartie, the Jets are thin at cornerback. Ellis Lankster moves into the No. 3 role — for now.
“We’re lucky because we’ve got the best in the league in Darrelle and we’ve also got a No. 1 corner in Cromartie,” announced Ryan, adding, “I’m confident in Kyle.” Football betting lines
But it is going to be just about impossible to replace Revis, a 3-time All-Pro selection. He routinely covers the opponents’ No. 1 WR, often shutting him down and allowing the coaches to use aggressive blitzing schemes. Revis is so good that he allowed just one touchdown pass in 2011.
Ryan, who calls Revis and Deion Sanders the 2 best cornerbacks he’s ever seen, reluctantly admitted he probably must change his defensive approach without his top corner. He called it “a personal challenge” for him and his defensive staff, saying, “Any coach worth his salt always takes things personally.”
The problem is the Jets’ defense, which Ryan predicted would finish in the top 5 for the 4th straight year, is off to a poor start. It is ranked 21st in total yards allowed, wrestling against the run (28th). Stopping the run usually is the hallmark of a Ryan-coached defense.
Revis has missed only 3 games in 5-plus seasons due to injury, including 2 games in 2010 thanks to a pulled hamstring. Without him on the field, the Jets have not intercepted a pass.