By Nick Shook
Read full post on NFL.com
Darrelle Revis‘ sudden decline grabbed headlines and hot takes in every corner of America after two weeks.
He was burned by A.J. Green off the line in Week 1. He was torched on Thursday Night Footballagainst the Bills in Week 2. Wikipedia pages were altered to designate receivers as new occupants of Revis Island (which I’m not sure works that way but … whatever). The 30-year-old wall had expanded from running back to cornerback.
Revis didn’t deny that last part on Thursday.
Revis had to work his way into shape to start the season, and at 31, his body isn’t responding to the rigors of the game like it used to. That isn’t surprising. But after recording five interceptions and nine passes defensed in 2015, Revis hasn’t notched a pick and has just one pass defensed in six games.
Defensive back statistics can be misleading. Revis limited Larry Fitzgerald to less than 50 yards (largely because David Johnson was having his way with the Jets‘ defense) against Arizona and was part of a secondary that intercepted Joe Flacco twice last week.
But after a decade filled mostly with excellence, Revis knows the microscope under which he plays. He just might not have expected the sentiments to flip so quickly.
“I brought it on myself by playing the game and the position at such a high level for so long,” Revis said by his locker Thursday, via NJ.com.
“You’re getting critiqued like a quarterback, and I’m a defensive back,” Revis said. “For what I’ve done in this league, you get critiqued like a quarterback losing games. If a pass is getting caught, it’s just like a quarterback throwing a game-winning touchdown or game-losing interception. That’s how it goes.”
That’s also how it goes when a defender has built his career on being a shutdown corner in one-on-one situations, makes an exorbitant amount of money and isn’t showing the signs he can maintain a high level of play while on a high-level contract.
“When you play Cover Zero on some of the best receivers in the world, it takes a toll on your body,” Revis said. “And your coaches have confidence to say we trust that you’re going to shut down this guy that had 200 yards receiving and the week before he had (more). We trust you with that job. So it’s hard. It’s a lot.”
It’s uncommon to hear a player willingly admit the effects of age while still playing, but for aging corners, there is a second option in football. It’s called playing safety.
That switch could be around a corner that is approaching faster than expected.