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Darrelle Revis Report, Week 9: Veteran corner and rest of Patriots secondary face supreme test in Peyton Manning and Broncos 10.31.14 at 12:49 am ET
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Demaryius Thomas got the better of Darrelle Revis on this pass play from 2010 when Revis was with the Jets. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Demaryius Thomas got the better of Darrelle Revis on this pass play from 2010 when Revis was with the Jets. (Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

Each week, we’ll present The Darrelle Revis Report, a look at what’s on tap for the Patriots cornerback. This week, New England will host the Broncos in a matchup that will give the winner the inside track when it comes to supremacy in the AFC.

Last week: In one of the best performances of his relatively short career with the Patriots, Revis was able to render Brandon Marshall a nonfactor in Sunday’s win over the Bears. Revis allowed one catch (on six targets) for 8 yards while working mostly against Marshall.

(There was one play where it’s unclear as to whether or not Revis was the one at fault when it came to coverage — on a quick out to Alshon Jeffery when the Bears had receivers stacked on the right side, Revis was essentially blocked out of the play. The completion to Jeffery led to a 15-yard pickup. He was in the neighborhood, but it was hard to see who exactly was at fault in coverage.)

The Patriots appeared to work in multiple coverage sets throughout the game, with Revis and the rest of the defensive backs throwing different looks at the Bears throughout the contest. For the first time all year, he was almost exclusively on the left side. Of his 60 snaps on Sunday, we had him on the left side for 48 of them, while he was on the right for 12.

In all, by our highly unscientific count, in eight games, Revis has yielded 19 catches on 38 targets for 271 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Looking ahead: Revis and the rest of the New England secondary will face their biggest test of the season against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. Denver has a fleet of talented pass catchers, including wide receivers Demaryius Thomas (47 catches, 767 yards, six TDs) and Emmanuel Sanders (47 catches, 634 yards and four TDs), as well as tight end Julius Thomas (30 catches, 327 yards and nine TDs).

“It’s going to be exciting,” Revis said of the showdown with the Broncos. “It kind of reminds me of back in New York when we played against the Patriots.

“We know what’s at stake. We know Denver is a great team. At the same time, we’re trying to accomplish something like they are too. It’s the battle of the AFC. We understand. We totally understand. It’s two great quarterbacks going against each other. We’re going to have to duke it out.”

Revis has faced Manning three times in his career — twice in the playoffs — and has a 2-1 mark against the quarterback, with his only loss coming in the 2009 AFC title game.
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Read More: Darrelle Revis, Demaryius Thomas, Revis Report,
Deep drive: When Peyton Manning and Broncos look to attack downfield, Patriots have defenders to answer challenge 10.30.14 at 3:23 pm ET
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FOXBORO — When Peyton Manning and the Broncos look to go deep on Sunday against the Patriots, it’ll be strength against strength.

The Denver passing game is one of the best in the league, averaging 297 passing yards per contest, third-best in the NFL. Manning has a fleet of talented pass catchers at his disposal, including wide receivers Demaryius Thomas (47 catches, 767 yards, six TDs) and Emmanuel Sanders (47 catches, 634 yards and four TDs), as well as tight end Julius Thomas (30 catches, 327 yards and nine TDs).

When it comes to looking deep, the Broncos are tied for seventh in the league with 28 pass plays of 20 yards or more. (Indy is first overall with 20.) In addition, Denver is fifth in the league when it comes to pass plays of 40 yards of more with seven on the season. (Washington leads the league with 12.)

On the other side of the ball, the Patriots have allowed 210.9 yards per game passing this year (second-fewest in the NFL) compared to 239.0 (18th in the NFL) last year. They’ve also made sizable gains when it comes to defending the deep ball. This year, through eight games, the Patriots remain the only team that has yet to allow a pass play of 40-plus yards. Also, passes of 20-plus yards are down significantly — 74 in 2012 (worst in NFL), 55 last year (tied for 20th), 23 this year (tied for 15th).

“We talk about it, with every [team], that there’s a way to stop it,” said veteran safety Devin McCourty said when asked about some of the specifics in defending the deep ball. “The credit goes to the guys out there on the field, whether it be the guys coming off the edge and maybe somebody was free and somebody makes a big play or the guys in coverage.”

New England went out and spent heavily at cornerback this offseason, and the results have paid off. With the addition of Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, it has changed the way Manning looks at the Patriots defensive backs.

“With the excellent cover corners, it allows them to do a lot of things,” Manning said. “It’€™s a matter of trying to be good at what you’€™re doing, and you know you’€™ve got to be prepared to handle the different adjustments that they can certainly make you go through during the course of a game.

“Certainly, it’€™s a great challenge playing against him,” Manning added when asked about Revis’ impact. “He’€™s just a top-notch cover corner that has great ball skills and great quickness, hip transition ‘€“ all the characteristics of a great cover corner. So, it’€™s a challenge, certainly. With the receivers we have, we’€™re trying to get everybody involved. To get everybody involved, that keeps the player involved and obviously you spread the ball around, and hopefully that can put pressure on the defense. But if you’€™re throwing against him, you better be accurate and you better be running really good routes.”

Read More: Brandon Browner, Darrelle Revis, Demaryius Thomas, Devin McCourty
5 things you have to know about the Broncos 10.28.14 at 10:57 pm ET
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Peyton Manning will lead the Broncos into Foxboro this weekend. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Peyton Manning will lead the Broncos into Foxboro this weekend. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Here are five things you have to know about the Broncos, who will travel to Foxboro this weekend for a game against the Patriots.

1. Their receiving depth will present the greatest challenge of the season for the Patriots

No team New England will face all season will feature the sort of depth in the passing game that the Broncos do. Denver has three legitimate threats in wide receivers Demaryius Thomas (47 catches, 767 yards, six TDs) and Emmanuel Sanders (47 catches, 634 yards and four TDs), as well as tight end Julius Thomas (30 catches, 327 yards and nine TDs). If you’€™re doling out defensive assignments for the Patriots — with the understanding that it won’€™t be purely man coverage all afternoon — it might come down to Demaryius Thomas-Darrelle Revis and Sanders-Alfonzo Dennard (if healthy), while the bigger Brandon Browner could be assigned to try and slow down the sizable tight end Julius Thomas. (Linebacker Jamie Collins has struggled in coverage for much of the year, and had plenty of issues trying to slow down Thomas in last year’€™s AFC title game.) Everyone knows Peyton Manning‘€™s greatness (2,134 passing yards, 69 percent completion rate, 22 TDs and only 3 picks through seven games), but on the flip side, if there’€™s a pass defense in the AFC that can slow down the Broncos, it just might be this one. This year, through eight games, the Patriots remain the only team that has yet to allow a pass play of 40-plus yards. They’€™ve allowed 210.9 yards per game passing this year (second-fewest in the NFL) compared to 239.0 (18th in the NFL) last year. Also, passes of 20-plus yards are down significantly — 74 in 2012 (worst in NFL), 55 last year (tied for 20th), 23 this year (tied for 15th). Simply put, the Patriots went out and got Revis and Browner for games like this. They are difference makers, and need to play as much on Sunday. (One more idle thought: Will we see the Patriots try and imitate Seattle’€™s Cover 3 approach on Sunday, going with press coverage off the line and a single safety deep? Food for thought.)

2. They are really good against the run

The best way to beat Manning is to keep him off the field, and New England can accomplish that with some extended drives. At the same time, don’€™t expect anything like the 15-play scoring sequence it had last week against the Bears, the longest scoring drive of the season, because when you’€™re talking about the Patriots trying to control the tempo against the Broncos, it’€™s easier said than done. New England has lead back Stevan Ridley sidelined for the season, while the Broncos are the No. 1 run defense in the league, having yielded an average of 72.4 rushing yards per game. (Over the last four games, Denver has allowed 191 yards on 67 carries in that stretch — 2.9 yards per attempt.) It’€™s understandable that the Patriots probably don’€™t want to go toe to toe with the likes of Terrence “Pit Roast” Knighton, so there could be some misdirection when they try and run the ball with a cast that will include Shane Vereen, Jonas Gray and Brandon Bolden. There’€™s also the possibility the possibility of utilizing the short passing game, trying screens and quick outs with short and intermediate routes. It would help Brady get the ball out as fast as possible, keep the tone and tempo in the hands of the Patriots and keep Manning and the Denver offense on the sidelines as long as possible.

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Read More: Bryan Stork, Darrelle Revis, DeMarcus Ware, Demaryius Thomas
Pro Football Focus’ Sam Monson on D&C: Tom Brady in October ‘possibly the best quarterback in the NFL’ at 10:26 am ET
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Tom Brady had an impressive month of October throwing for 14 touchdowns. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady had an impressive month of October, throwing for 14 touchdowns. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Tuesday to give his evaluation of Tom Brady so far this season after writing in June he was on the decline and no longer a top-five quarterback. He also touched on the play of Darrelle Revis. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

In June Monson wrote that Brady has been on a significant decline in recent years and no longer belongs in the upper echelon of elite quarterbacks such as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. Following Brady’s impressive month of October — based on the month alone — Monson acknowledged the veteran is playing at an elite level.

“I think it depends by what you mean by current. The Tom Brady of October is possibly the best quarterback in the NFL,” said Monson. “I’m not sure there is anyone that has played better than him the last three or four weeks, but the Tom Brady of September was a totally different guy. That was a guy who wasn’t anywhere near that top-four list, so the question is going to be what is the Tom Brady we are going to get in November, December and maybe January.”

With Brady’s struggles in the first four weeks of the season many blamed the poor play of the offensive line as well as the quarterback still building chemistry with his receivers. Monson said that wasn’t everything and Brady still shared some of the blame.

“I don’t think it’s true to say it had nothing to do with Brady,” Monson said. “There hasn’t been that much of a change between the supporting cast around Brady in September and the supporting cast around him in October. The bottom line is he is just playing an awful lot better. I’m sure obviously more familiarity with those receivers is going to play into that, [Rob] Gronkowski getting healthier is obviously a big factor and the offensive line has definitely improved certainly from the first game. It hasn’t become a fantastic line — it’s certainly given him problems. Brady is overcoming them way better than he did in September.”

Monson also touched on the play of Revis, as he included him in a piece that called him a player who has regressed this season. Monson doesn’t believe the “real Revis” has been showcased so far this season.

“[Revis] is another guy who had a great game against the Bears, but that is a case of who didn’t?” said Monson. “Before that, again, he hasn’t really done an awful lot to suggest that was wrong. I don’t think we’ve seen the real Revis so far this season, except against the Bears.”

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Read More: Darrelle Revis, Sam Monson, Tom Brady,
Darrelle Revis: Patriots-Broncos will be ‘battle of the AFC’ 10.26.14 at 6:07 pm ET
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Darrelle Revis had four tackles, an interception and two passes defensed on Sunday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis had four tackles, an interception and two passes defended on Sunday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Darrelle Revis sounds like a man excited about the prospect of facing Peyton Manning.

In the wake of Sunday’s 51-23 Patriots win over the Bears, the veteran corner was asked about what it will feel like to be a part of another battle between Manning and Tom Brady, as well as the the chance to gain the inside track in the race for the top seed in the AFC.

“It’s going to be exciting,” he said. “It kind of reminds me of back in New York when we played against the Patriots.

“We know what’s at stake. We know Denver is a great team. At the same time, we’re trying to accomplish something like they are too. It’s the battle of the AFC. We understand. We totally understand. It’s two great quarterbacks going against each other. We’re going to have to duke it out.”

In many ways, the offseason pickup of Revis and fellow corner Brandon Browner was geared toward slowing down Manning and the Denver passing game. Revis said he welcomes the challenge.

“These are the games you want to play for. I can speak for everybody who is on this team — we live for games like this for next week. We’re looking forward to it. It should be a great matchup,” he said. “We want this one. We really do. We’re a team on a mission. It’s going to be two great teams out there, and we’re looking forward to it.

“We’ve been playing consistent,” he added. “We started off slow and we had to focus on certain things — you know, offense, defense and special teams — to tighten it down a little bit. Our technique. But we’re a confident team. We definitely are. Our record speaks for itself — we’re 6-2, and we’re going to continue to play confident because that’s the type of mentality we have as a team.”

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Darrelle Revis, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady,
Adam Schefter on MFB: ‘It wouldn’t surprise me’ if Darrelle Revis does not start vs. Bears 10.24.14 at 1:04 pm ET
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Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN’s Adam Schefter made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Friday to preview the Patriots-Bears game and discuss other NFL news. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Darrelle Revis reportedly was sent home Tuesday after arriving late to practice. Coach Bill Belichick would not discuss the matter with the media, and it’s not known if Belichick plans to hold Revis out of the starting lineup Sunday against the Bears.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if he doesn’t start. That wouldn’t surprise me at all based on the way they’ve handled things in the past. I could see that happening,” Schefter said. “This is a game you obviously want him out there. Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Santonio Holmes, Martellus Bennett — [the Bears are] loaded in the air, and they’re more formidable on the road.”

The Patriots are heading into a challenging stretch of six games against some strong competition, and they’ll be doing it without some key players who are out with injuries.

“Let’s be honest, the Patriots’ issues have compounded a little,” Schefter said. “You lose [Jerod] Mayo, you lose Chandler Jones, Revis is late, whatever that means, we don’t know. You’ve got all these issues out there. Now you’ve got really, arguably, the toughest teams in the NFL all on deck. You could make an argument that the Broncos, Colts, Packers and Chargers are four of the top five teams in the NFL right now.”

Looking at league news, reports out of Seattle indicate there are some issues in the Seahawks locker room, with quarterback Russell Wilson apparently viewed as “not black enough” for some teammates’ liking.

“A locker room is a melting pot — different races, different backgrounds, different ideologies, different everything,” Schefter said. “Russell Wilson seems to, by all accounts, lead a very clean existence. That doesn’t match up with everybody in that locker room. So, so what? So what? …

“I look at it this way: Last weekend Russell Wilson became the first quarterback in NFL history that threw for over 300 yards and ran for over a hundred yards in one game. Last season, in his second season, he led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl title. And, oh, by the way, we don’t even talk about the fact that a black quarterback won the Super Bowl. I thought we moved past that. And now, to hear that, it sounds so ‘street’ to me. Like, just so immature. That’s how it sounds to me.

“And I will say this, I’m sure there are some people in that locker room — I know this — that have some issues with Russell Wilson — that I know. So what? So what? … They have some questions about his character — not lack of, but just the way he handles himself. You know what it is? The teacher’s pet, goody-goody, ‘Go ‘hawks’ kind of thing.”

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Read More: adam schefter, Darrelle Revis, Peyton Manning, Russell Wilson
Darrelle Revis Report, Week 8: Will Marshall plan be utilized against familar foe? at 12:10 pm ET
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Darrelle Revis and Brandon Marshall are pretty familiar dating back to their battles when Revis was with the Jets and Marshall was with the Dolphins. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis and Brandon Marshall are pretty familiar with each other already. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Each week, we’ll present The Darrelle Revis Report, a look at what’s on tap for the Patriots cornerback. This week, New England will host the Bears.

Last week: Because the game was now over a week ago, we won’t spend too much time looking back, but in his first game against the Jets as a member of the Patriots, Revis didn’t have anything special lined up on the night. Instead, it was a relative mix of zone and man coverage throughout the evening — mostly against Eric Decker, at least when it was man coverage. In all, it was a relatively uneventful night for Revis, who yielded three catches on the night (one appeared to be in man coverage and two in zone), while adding two tackles and a big pass deflection on third down with 11:02 left in the fourth quarter in the 27-25 win over the Jets. By our highly unscientific count, in seven games, Revis has now allowed 18 catches on 32 targets for 263 yards this year, with one touchdown and one interception.

Looking ahead: The Patriots will host the Bears in a showdown between corners and receivers that could get very interesting. Revis and Brandon Marshall already have a history together (more on that in a bit), but in addition, Alfonzo Dennard and Alshon Jeffery mixed it up as collegians. In the Capital One Bowl, the two went head-to-head and ended up throwing punches.

The challenge of facing the biggest receiving tandem of the year — Marshall is 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, while Jeffery is 6-foot-3 and 216 pounds — will certainly make for an interesting afternoon.

“You just have to cover them the best you can,” Revis said. “When you’re playing against bigger guys, [they] will try and shield their body and try and catch the ball and try and shield you away from the ball. We’ve had our fair share of [covering] bigger guys. The Bengals game, those guys were very big. This is probably the biggest yet, across the board at tight end and wide receiver. Like I said, we just have to try and play through them to get to the ball.”

Possible man matchups this week (with the understanding that it won’t solely be one on one): The Revis-Marshall matchup might be the best and most intriguing one-on-one battle for the Patriots corner to this point in the season. Marshall, who has 31 catches for 349 yards with five touchdowns this season, has gone head-to-head with Revis on a number of occasions, and the New England corner spoke fondly of those battles this week.

“Great receiver, man. This week, we have our hands full in two big receivers in him and Jeffery. We’re looking forward to it — I’m sure he is too,” Revis said when he was asked about Marshall. “I know Brandon personally. It’s football, man. We compete … that’s what we do for a living. We had our battles in the past. It’s great, man. This week is going to be great.”

In all, Marshall has lined up across from Revis on four separate occasions, but the cornerback has usually gotten the better of the 6-foot-4, 230-pound receiver. According to Pro Football Focus, Revis has allowed nine receptions on 23 targets for 112 yards without a touchdown when facing Marshall. Revis also has an interception (in 2011) and seven deflected passes when facing Marshall.

Here’s a relatively good breakdown of a 2011 contest between the Jets and Dolphins that featured Revis against Marshall, a game that included that aforementioned pick against Marshall. (You’re going to want to mute the audio, or at least pop on some earphones.)

As for going against Cutler, Revis has faced him twice, and the corner has been beaten twice, both when he was with the Jets: In a Nov. 30, 2008 contest against the Broncos, Revis had three tackles in a 34-17 defeat to Denver. And on Dec. 26, 2010 against Chicago, Revis had four tackles in a 38-34 loss. He has no interceptions against Cutler.

Money quotes: “He’s smart and he’s big. Probably about 6-foot-4 or something. Very physical at the line. A possession type receiver who can go deep as well and run after catches — he’s taken hitches 60, 70, 80 yards. Like I said, we know what type of players they are. We respect them a lot. We know how explosive they are in the passing game, and we have to be able to stop that.” — Revis on Marshall

Darrelle Revis is one of the best in the business; has been for a long time. A lot of times he goes with the No. 1 receiver and matches him and shadows him throughout the game. We’ll see what he does against us.” — Cutler on Revis

One more thing: The size of the Chicago receivers could make the Patriots switch things up — at least in the red zone –when it comes to man coverage. After all, New England does have one of the only cornerback combos in Revis (5-foot-11, 198 pounds) and Brandon Browner (6-foot-4, 221 pounds) who are built to handle the size of a pairing like Jeffery and Marshall. If Browner is in a better place than he was last week when it comes to his football fitness, Browner could end up getting more snaps than Dennard.

Read More: alshon jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Darrelle Revis, Eric Decker
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