Rex Ryan stepped up to the podium and his somber expression told the whole story. Five minutes prior to Monday afternoon’s press conference, the Jets head honcho was informed that his star cornerback Darrelle Revis would likely be lost for the season due to an ACL tear in his left knee. MRI results confirmed what fans, teammates and the coaching staff initially feared, that Gang Green would play the remainder of the 2012 season without their best player.
“Obviously, that’s a significant injury, and that’s something that we’re going to have to overcome as a football team,” admitted Ryan of losing the four-time Pro-Bowler. “We understand that. For him, I feel bad about it because he’s such a great player, but also a great teammate, so we’re going to lose that presence.”
In the wake of Revis’ devastating knee injury, New York’s head coach appeared convinced that No. 24 would be back healthy and with a vengeance.
“We’ve had seven players on our football team that have had this surgery before and are playing now,” noted Ryan. “This is a guy that is as competitive as it gets, and I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s going to come back strong from it.”
The Jets defensive schemes are predicated on their shutdown cornerback’s ability to take their opponents’ top receiver out of the game. In Revis’ absence, Ryan and company will likely have to shift their defensive philosophy in order stay in contention this year.
“We just have to pick it up and maybe we play some opponents differently," remarked Ryan. “There’s different ways to skin a cat. You can’t just obviously take away their best receiver with one guy, but again, we’ll find a way.”
Rex Ryan | Buddy Ryan | Rob Ryan | Woody Johnson
Ryan’s gumption and coaching genius will certainly be tested without his star cornerback in the mix, yet he remains confident in the other cornerbacks on the Jets’ depth chart.
“Well, we’re fortunate because most teams only have one number one corner, or some don’t even have any,” declare Ryan. “We have the best in the league in Darrelle, and we also have a number one corner in (Antonio) Cromartie. We drafted Kyle Wilson to basically be a number two corner and that’s the way he’s going to play that role. Then we have two young, tough players in Isaiah Trufant and Ellis Lankster that are going to have to step it up.”
While Ryan didn’t downplay the loss of his standout defensive back, he looked back on one of the greatest defenses ever assemble, the 1985 Chicago Bears. With father Buddy at the helm, the Monsters of the Midway inspired fear in their opponents, not with All-Pro defensive backs, but with an unrelenting and ferocious pass-rush.
“The most aggressive defense in the history of the National Football League was the Bears, back when my dad was there,” reflected Ryan. “He played with three college safeties and a college receiver from Yale. That was how his back end was made up. But sometimes, you put enough pressure on them, you don’t have those throws down the field, so that’s something. We may be more aggressive.”