The Chiefs’ game against the New York Jets on Sunday will not be the first time Darrelle Revis has squared off against the team he’s most associated with.
Though he’s spent eight seasons of his 11-year career donning Jets green, Revis faced the Jets in 2013, as a member of the Tampa Bay Bucs, and twice in 2014, as a member of the New England Patriots.
In that sense, he knows what to expect. And perhaps that’s why, when quizzed about the upcoming showdown against his old team, Revis promptly played it down.
“No, I don’t think it’s any extra motivation,” said Revis, who signed with the Chiefs last week after he was released by the Jets following a disastrous 2016 season.
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Revis insists the timing of his signing with the Chiefs –– just in time to get ready to face the Jets –– was a coincidence, even though the Chiefs had been trying to lure him back since the beginning of the season.
And when asked if he has anything to prove to his old team, Revis just shook his head.
“No, we have a long history –– I’ve played there since 2007,” Revis said. “I had an awesome time there. We had our runs, our AFC Championships back-to-back that we missed out on. Great guys, great teammates and coaches that I’ve been around there. Most of my legacy was with the Jets. I don’t think anything personally. I’m just on another team.”
Spoken like a true veteran. But those who know Revis best –– like former Jets coach Rex Ryan, for instance, don’t buy it. In multiple interviews this week, Ryan made it clear he thinks Revis is out for revenge.
“I think he’ll be motivated big-time,” Ryan told The New York Post. “I know the kind of competitor he is. Let’s face it, the Jets gave up on him, as did almost everybody in the league.”
Ryan also echoed what Revis said a week ago, that Revis played too heavy last year, which contributed to his struggles. But Ryan also added that Revis’ confidence, physicality and technique weren’t to his typical standard.
That doesn’t appear to be a problem in Kansas City, however, at least so far. Chiefs defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has been pleased with what he’s seen from Revis, who says he now weighs around 208 pounds, “way” down from a year ago.
“He’s a detailed guy,” said Sutton, who also coached Revis in his prime in New York. “He knows the scout team receivers are supposed to be split at 2 yards outside the hash, or 2 yards outside the numbers on that route. He’ll go over and say run that route from that split. That’s his study and his preparation, and he’s a real smart football guy. I just think he does a tremendous job, preparation-wise.”
One thing that’s helped Revis get acclimated in Kansas City is that the terminology remains similar to the defenses he played in with the Jets.
“I think yesterday was probably my best day where I felt the most comfortable with the play calls,” Revis said. “For the most part it’s getting out there with the guys, getting the chemistry. I haven’t been a part of the team the whole year, so for me it’s just been taking a step back, learning everybody’s personality, learning Coach (Andy) Reid’s personality and the coaching staff. Just really soaking it all in. It’s an opportunity for me to get back playing great football.”
Chiefs inside linebacker Derrick Johnson can vouch for Revis’ acclimation process going well.
“With him on the field, he knows Sutton’s defense or half of it already because he was in it,” Johnson said “To get him out there and moving around, breaking on balls ... he was the best in the league at one time, and trust me, he still has something in him. We can use him.”
However, even Sutton will tell you the Chiefs can’t exactly be sure what to expect from Revis. Many players are intrigued to see what he can do. Will be closer to the prime, shutdown corner he was in New York? Or was his off year last season the new norm?
“Nobody probably knows for sure,” Sutton said. “I think he said he wasn’t in the best condition of his life in that regard, so I guess that’s where we’re laying our hope, is that was an exception.
“We obviously have to wait and see, but I think he’ll be okay out there.”
It shouldn’t take too long to see whether that will be the case. When asked if he expects the Jets to attack him, Revis said he’s mentally ready for that.
“You know what, at this point I wouldn’t put it past any team or any offensive coordinator,” Revis said. “Their game plan is what their game plan is, and we have to focus on our game plan and execute as a defense.”