The Jets brought Derrelle Revis back this offseason from the New England Patriots, and there is the real possibility that the strength of this rivalry could turn with this big move.
There are few players in the NFL on the defensive side of the ball that can change games the way Revis can. just this past Sunday, he got a key interception to start the Jets’ comeback against the Redskins.
Revis was with the Jets from the start of his career until 2012, when he left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for one season. He then went to the Patriots last season, where he was the final piece to their defense and a big part of why they won Super Bowl XLIX, their first in ten years.
With Revis back in the fold, the Jets defense is one of the best in the league again, and a big reason they have jumped out to a 4-1 record.
The Patriots are off to an undefeated 5-0 start, as they are on a vengeance tour this season after they, and especially their quarterback, Tom Brady, had to deal with the Deflategate scandal.
There is no question the Patriots will face a tough test in the Jets because of the defense led by Revis, who led the Jets to a 2010 playoff win in New England. The Jets also boast a revitalized offense with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, receivers Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall, and running back Chris Ivory.
Revis said of how big of a game this is for the Jets, “As big as you want it to be. For us, it’s still early in the season. We’re still trying to get better and better each week. It is a big game because it is a conference game, but at the same time it’s still early in the season. We’re trying to get better as a team. Whoever is on the schedule that week is who we’ve got to play and who we have to go up against.”
On what he is using from his time with New England to prepare for this week, Revis said, “I’ve got my notes (laughs). I have my notes. Once you play a team so much twice a year, you’ve got to go back to the previous game depending on the years you’ve played them and see if you can pick up on anything. I’m sure those guys are doing the same thing on their end too.”
Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles is new to the rivalry, and this will be his first time going against New England Head coach Bill Belichick.
On if there’s a temptation to over-think things when coaching against Belichick, Bowles said, “I don’t have that type of temptation, no (laughter).”
Revis said of the Jets-Patriots matchup being like a chess match, “They’ve been playing lights out on offense and we’ve been playing lights out on defense. It’s the number one offense versus the number one defense. It should be very exciting, it should be fun. I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a fun matchup.”
Bowles said of Revis making the biggest difference when going against an elite offense and quarterback, “I think he makes his impact week-in and week-out. I don’t think it’s predicated on playing the Patriots.”
On what he sees from the Patriots offense, Bowles said, “Same thing they always do, they score a lot of points. They’re very disciplined, they have explosive players and they make plays. They’re very disciplined, very tough and it’s going to be a tough game.”
The Patriots’ biggest weapon is tight end Rob Gronkowski, and Bowles said of what makes him so effective, “Probably the obvious things that you notice (laughter). He’s big, he has great feet, he’s tough, he has good hands, he’s a smart player, and he’s a tough player. All the things that have already been said about him.”
Revis said of Tom Brady, “Tom is a competitor. Being his teammate last year and even before that he’s always looking for the best matchup and he trusts his guys.”
Bowles said of the battle of wits being as important as a battle of physicality when facing Brady, “He’s seen it all. It’s just about our guys making plays or their guys making plays. It’s not so much a battle of wits. They know us pretty well. We have a lot of guys on this team that’s played them quite a bit so they know them pretty well. If their guys make plays, they’re going to win. If our guys make plays, we’re going to win.”
On if he subscribes to the theory that he has to get Brady off of his spot to be successful, Bowles said, “I think that’s for any quarterback. They’re all tough, if you get them off the spot they’ll scramble and do some other things. We just have to play our ball game. We’re not in to theories and temptations and other things like that. We’re just going to work on getting better and doing the things that we have to do.”
The Jets signed Revis in March, very early in the free agent period. Bowles said of how surprised he was when Revis became a free agent, “I don’t know if I was surprised at whether he became one or not. I was happy when we got him. I wouldn’t say I was surprised that he became one or didn’t become one. Some things you just don’t know about.”
On if he saw signing Revis as something that was a critical shift in the division, Bowles said, “No, I don’t. They’ve lost players in the past and they continue to do the same things that they do. They have good football players on their team, they have tradition and they win games. Us getting Revis is a bonus for us, I don’t think it deters anything that they do.”
Revis left the Patriots a month after winning Super Bowl XLIX, and he was asked if he has had time to appreciate it, and he said, “Like I said, it’s a memory that I will never forget. We’ve got a good team. It’s 2015 now and now I’m here. All of that is behind me at this point. When I’m sitting down somewhere when I’m done, that’s a memory that I’ll always cherish.”
Revis said of his his experience playing for Bowles, “Yeah, me personally I’m having fun and a lot of the guys are as well. Winning is big, especially when you have more wins than losses. It makes things a little bit easier around here. We’re enjoying it as much as we can. It’s still a long season. We’ve got a long ways to go. It gets harder every week, it definitely does. We just have to continue to just keep on working and staying consistent in what we do.”
After Sunday’s win over Washington, Revis said of preparing for the Patriots, “We’ve been playing lights out. We’ve just got to continue to make plays on defense and get the ball back to the offense for those guys to make plays. It’s always been close in this rivalry. We have our fair share of wins and they do too. It’s going to be a battle next week. They’re a team. Any team can be beat any way on any given Sunday. We’re familiar with them and they’re familiar with us. It’s going to be a great game.”