Over the last several years, Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis has earned a reputation around the league as one of the game's premier shutdown defender. An All-Pro selection in each of the past two seasons, he refers to his side of the field as "Revis Island," because receivers who line up across from him often find themselves "lost."
The five-year veteran considers himself the game's top cornerback, but admitted that he faces a unique challenge this weekend against an explosive Eagles offense.
"We're going up against a dangerous team Sunday," Revis said on a conference call with Philadelphia reporters. "The Eagles have a ton of playmakers on offense. Despite their 5-8 record, we know we can't sleep on them. We can't let this be a trap game for us."
Revis has not had the misfortune of facing any of the Eagles' top weapons. His Jets have not played the Eagles in a regular season game since his rookie year in 2007, the season before speedster DeSean Jackson joined the squad and two years before Jeremy Maclin, LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick were added.
Unlike many corners in the league, Revis is usually given the task of mirroring one of the opposing team's receivers all game long, lining up across from him wherever he is on the field. Typically, fellow-corner Antonio Cromartie takes care of their opponent's fastest receiver, which would indicate that he will face Jackson and that Revis will likely line up across from receiver Jeremy Maclin for the majority of Sunday's game.
Cromartie, cousin of Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, is one of the most physically gifted players in the NFL. Standing 6-2 and having finished at the top of nearly every category in pre-draft strength and agility drills at his position, he is an imposing force and will look to make the day very tough for whomever he faces.
Revis discussed the challenge that dynamic quarterback Michael Vick presents. He has the ability to make his receivers even more dangerous because of his ability to keep plays alive.
"I know what type of player Michael Vick is," said the 5-11 corner. "He's a threat every time he steps out on the field, even when he's not 100 percent. He can hurt you on the ground and can also hurt you deep in the passing game. You always have to go hard until the whistle blows, because he has the ability to extend plays like no other."
Revis has never played against Vick. Watching tape on Vick and facing him in an actual game are very different experiences; players often marvel at his speed after seeing him in person for the first time. Film just doesn't do Vick justice.
The shutdown corner is confident that his defense is up to the challenge, though. Delicately placed in the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC with an 8-5 record, the Jets have three teams right behind them with 7-6 records. They know that they must win this week to maintain their hold of a wild-card spot.
"We are very focused," said Revis. "We're on a three-game win streak, so we need to keep our momentum going. We're excited about this game Sunday and will come out with a lot of energy."
This is also a huge game for the Eagles, who sport a 5-8 record, but have a chance at the playoffs if they win their final three games. Expect a tough battle when the Jets and Eagles square off Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
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