The New York Jets will play the rest of the National Football League season without All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, who requires surgery to repair a torn knee ligament.
The loss of Revis, 27, who was selected as an All-Pro in three of his first five NFL seasons, is a blow to a defense that relied on his one-on-one coverage against top receivers. Antonio Cromartie will become the No. 1 cornerback, with former first-round draft pick Kyle Wilson moving into the starting lineup, Jets coach Rex Ryan said at a news conference yesterday.
“We’ve got the best in the league in Darrelle and we also have a No. 1 corner in Cromartie,” Ryan said. “We drafted Kyle Wilson to be a No. 2 corner and that’s what he’s going to play.”
The new defensive lineup’s first test will be against the visiting San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 30 in a meeting of teams with 2-1 records, followed by an Oct. 8 home game against the Houston Texans, who are 3-0 and have All-Pro receiver Andre Johnson.
“Maybe we play some opponents differently,” Ryan said. “We’ll find a way.”
Wilson said he’ll continue to communicate with Revis regularly and doesn’t feel any pressure in replacing him.
“I always pick that guy’s brain,” Wilson told reporters. “Our communication will still be the same but, overall, I just have to continue to do my job, go out there, have fun and make plays.”
Revis injured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the third quarter of the Jets’ 23-20 overtime victory in Miami two days ago as he tried to change direction and make a tackle.
A scan yesterday revealed the torn ACL. Revis has a chance to be healthy by the start of training camp in July, according to Ronald Grelsamer, associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. Grelsamer has no direct knowledge of Revis’s injury.
“The party line is, you’re out for a year,” Grelsamer said in a telephone interview. “A person might be back at six months. Even if you take that accelerated protocol, six months doesn’t help him for this year.”
It might be two to three weeks before the surgery is performed, which would give Revis a chance to make the knee healthier, Ryan said.
Without Revis, the 49ers become a slightly bigger favorite of Las Vegas oddsmakers, who moved the Jets to four-point underdogs from 3 1/2 points. The Jets’ odds of winning the Super Bowl remain at 30-1, according to the Las Vegas Hotel’s Super Book, and Ryan said the loss of the cornerback doesn’t mark the end of his team’s season.
Ryan credited the Jets’ ability to rally for the win in Miami after Revis’s injury.
“Is it a major blow when you lose a great player like Darrelle Revis? Of course, it absolutely is,” Ryan said. “But this is a football team and we showed that. There’s plenty of times to get down in that game but we kept fighting and believing in each other, and that’s what it’s going to take.”