With the trade becoming official, and Darrelle Revis becoming a Tampa Bay Buccaneer by way of a trade with the New York Jets, it’s time to start to consider how this trade will impact the Buccaneers. As we did with the free agent acquisitions not so long ago, let’s consider the Good, the Bad, and the Likely when it comes to having Darrelle Revis in pewter and red in 2013.
The Good: In the best case scenario, Darrelle Revis absolutely dominates at his position, and it alters the way the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play defense. In Robbie Knopf’s in depth statistical look at the impact Darrelle Revis has on his team’s defense, and the similar impact other elite corners have on their respective defenses, he points out that there is a certain threshold at the cornerback position where the player is so good, he impacts the entire defense on his own. He said of Revis “If the Bucs add that level of production, it will make their entire secondary better and give them a chance to completely reverse course and become a top 10 defense next season.”
Likewise, in his breakdown of Revis’ impact of the defense, Sander over at BucsNation had this article, in which he compares the defense with Aqib Talib at corner and the concepts Greg Schiano wants to play, with the ability that Darrelle Revis has to dominate and change the game in those same schemes. In other words, this is not trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. The Buccaneers defense is built for a player like Revis.
That means the best case scenario, with Revis on board, is that the Buccaneers have an elite level of defense. Having a true, shut-down corner like Darrelle changes everything. The front seven plus safeties and other corners can blitz more often, the other defensive backs and linebackers in coverage have one man to not worry about (the man Revis is covering), and subsequently the safeties can shift over to Eric Wright’s assignment, meaning we will see less of the deep passes burning Wright, as Dashon Goldson (remember him?) will have his eyes on that matchup, ready to spring into action.
Mark Barron, at strong safety, is now even more free to play in the box and closer to the line of scrimmage, because there will be very little cover two with Revis in the fold. There’s no need for a second safety, as Revis can handle his side of the field just fine on his own. This means Barron will be a menace to tight ends and running backs, patrolling a much shorter field than he had to last season.
Here is some information on Revis from ESPN Stats and Information to summarize how good the best case scenario is for Revis:
In the last two seasons, the Jets defense allowed 15 touchdown passes but had 23 interceptions in the 1,066 plays with Revis on the field.
With him off the field (945 plays), they allowed 20 touchdown passes and had only seven picks.
Revis doesn’t just affect the man he is covering. He changes the entire field of play in pass coverage.
The Bad: The most obvious worst-case scenario is a complication with the knee injury Revis suffered last season. ACL tears are very serious, and there is always the risk of complications. Furthermore, there is the chance that Revis never returns to form from a mental standpoint, and doesn’t trust his repaired knee to cut and backpedal like it used to, and is hesitant and cautious.
The Buccaneers got their chance to look at Revis’ knee, and decided that his injury was not a long-term concern. In fact, they told the media the following:
The Bucs have no concerns he will miss any days of training camp.
— Rick Stroud (@NFLSTROUD) April 21, 2013
That’s a pretty bold statement. It was less than a year ago that Revis’ knee was injured, so his presence in training camp would virtually silence the fears about his health. The question remains if he is able to regain his “Revis Island” form, but even at a slightly reduced level, Revis is still going to be a Pro Bowl caliber cornerback. It is literally impossible to see a scenario in which Darrelle Revis is anything less than a Pro Bowl defensive back in 2013, unless there is another injury that sidelines him for a majority of the season.
So I suppose that means the worst case scenario is that he’s a Pro Bowler who isn’t quite worth the 16 million dollars he’s being paid, and the Buccaneers have overspent. Obviously an injury would be the worst thing that could happen, but provided that the rehabilitation is going as well as it appears to be, this would be a random, freak incident and not an outcome anyone could have planned for or foreseen.
The Likely: Honestly, it’s probably the same as “The Good.” All signs point to Revis being healthy, and the contract he was given shows that he is willing to prove himself on the field as not only healthy, but elite. There has been a lot of talk about Revis holding out over the course of this contract, but I can almost guarantee that is not going to be the case. Revis is making more than any defensive back in the history of the game, and is getting paid yearly, at a flat rate, with no bonuses or incentives to inflate the deal for the press. If all the reports are true, Revis is getting 16 million per year, or one million per game, with no gimmicks. Revis literally has nothing to hold out for, because all he has to do is make the roster, and he has earned a paycheck bigger than 99% of the National Football League. Plus, with a lack of guaranteed money in the contract, there are virtually no deadlines for Revis to back up against when holding out, and no consequences for the Buccaneers to release him if he is not worth the hassle.
By all accounts, Revis turned into a true locker room leader and hard-worker in New York, and that’s what the Buccaneers can expect in Tampa Bay. He was met by Greg Schiano at the airport before signing and paperwork or working out with the team, so he knew what he was getting himself into. He’s going to be out on the practice field, with his toes on the line, just like everyone else. He has a lot to prove, because he has developed a list of “haters” and detractors over his absence, and between proving these people wrong, earning his non-guaranteed paycheck, and shooting for a championship with the Buccaneers, Revis has all the incentive he needs to return to his All-Pro form from week one.
Against the Jets.
In New York.
Game on, Rex Ryan. Game on.