|Revis Report, Week 2: Corner could face unique challenge in Minnesota’s Cordarrelle Patterson||09.11.14 at 11:35 pm ET|
Each week, we’ll present The Revis Report, a look at what’s on tap for the Patriots cornerback. This week, New England travels to Minnesota for a date with the Vikings.
Overview: This will mark Darrelle Revis‘ second regular-season game with the Patriots, and his first against the Vikings since he was with the Jets on Oct. 11, 2010. New England is coming off a surprising 33-20 loss to the Dolphins in the regular-season opener.
“We’re ready to go,” Revis told reporters after practice on Thursday. “We had a great practice today [and] we’ve just got to focus on [Friday] and tie all three practices together, and we’ll be ready to go.”
Last week: According to NFL gamebooks, Revis played 62 of a possible 74 snaps against the Dolphins (84 percent), and after looking at the All-22 film, we had him lined up on the left side for 61 of the possible 62 snaps. (This would certainly jibe with what we saw from him over the course of the preseason, where he was on the left side for 33 of his 36 preseason snaps.) In all, he was targeted five times by Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and yielded two catches for a total of 36 yards to Miami’s Mike Wallace, and also had two pass breakups.
While Revis stuck to one side of the field for the bulk of the afternoon, most of his action came in head-to-head matchups with Wallace. The most eventful play came in the first half when Wallace dropped an impressive double-move on Revis, allowing him to get some separation on the cornerback and get some clearance on the way to the end zone. However, the ball was just slightly off the mark, and Wallace was unable to come down with the ball inbounds. Revis ended the game with one tackle and a fumble recovery.
(For what it’s worth, Wallace’s move caused us to think about the most notable quote of the previous week from Revis on the receiver, saying that his speed can sometimes be deceptive. “Film can play tricks on your eyes sometimes when you watch it,” Revis said when asked about preparing for Wallace. “Until you get out there … film speed and game speed are totally two different things. I played against him in the past — a lot of guys on this team have — and I know how fast he is. He’s probably the fastest receiver in the league.”)
Ultimately, Wallace ended the game with seven catches (on 11 targets) for 81 yards and a touchdown, an uptick from the numbers he had averaged against Revis-led defenses in the past (four catches for 41 yards per contest).
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|Darrelle Revis: ‘Very frustrating’ to miss end of game with cramps||09.07.14 at 8:06 pm ET|
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — It may not have changed the outcome but Darrelle Revis said he was frustrated to be kept on the sideline by a minor issue in the closing moments of Sunday’s 33-20 loss to the Dolphins.
“Very frustrating. I couldn’t be out there and help the team out in desperation mode at that time,” Revis said.
Revis was asked specifically if it was cramping from the heat and humidity that kept him out of the game at the end.
“Uh, yeah,” Revis said. “Minor. Minor. Minor things going on but yeah.”
Revis made his official debut with the Patriots and was targeted several times by Ryan Tannehill, including on the Mike Wallace touchdown reception over the middle that tied the game, 20-20, in the third quarter.
“I actually knocked the pass down and thought it popped up like the post he ran earlier in the first half. I don’t know, I have to see the film,” Revis said of the Wallace TD grab. “My teammates were telling me it hit his knee and popped back into his hands. You don’t want those happen – sometimes they happen ‘ but the only thing you can do is, I don’t know. Sometimes the plays happen and you have to tip your hat off to Mike for keeping focus and coming up with it some weird way.”
Wallace, who finished with seven catches and a TD on 11 targets, nearly had another touchdown on Revis on an out-and-up move in the second quarter but Wallace’s right foot came down out of bounds.
“It’s not a good day for us,” Revis said. “We didn’t play too well and that’s the taste we have in our mouth today. It doesn’t matter about my first day, it would have been way better if we would have come out with a victory. We’re worried about the loss.”
|Revis Report, Week 1: Will it be Mike Wallace or Charles Clay?||09.04.14 at 11:13 pm ET|
Each week, we’ll present The Revis Report, a look at what’s on tap for the Patriots cornerback over the coming week. This week, it’s the first regular-season game for the Patriots, as they travel to Miami for a date with the Dolphins.
Overview: This is Darrelle Revis‘ first game with the Patriots, and so there’s not much to go on in terms of history within New England’s system. Over the course of the preseason, the cornerback played two games, and took 36 snaps overall. By our highly unscientific count, he was on the right side for 33 of those snaps, and on the left for three. He was thrown at three times, and there was one completion, a pass from Cam Newton to Kelvin Benjamin.
“I’m very excited. It’s the first week — it’s good to get things going now,” Revis said Thursday when asked if he was excited to get the regular season started. “I think we’re all excited. We’ve been waiting for this for awhile, and now, it’s here.”
Possible man matchups: Revis will likely be utilized against one of two people — either wide receiver Mike Wallace or tight end Charles Clay. Revis said Thursday he’s matched up against Wallace on several occasions times in the past — it appears the last time the two went head-to-head was Week 2 of the 2012 season. According to Pro Football Focus, Revis played in 43 of a possible 85 defensive snaps before going down with a knee injury that ultimately left him on the shelf for the rest of the season.
Then, there’s Clay. Why would Bill Belichick have Revis work against a tight end? A few reasons. First, Belichick has traditionally been all about trying to stop the opposing team’s No. 1 offensive option, and he has a clear level of respect for Clay, so much so that he assigned lead corner Aqib Talib (with some help) to Clay in last year’s contest against the Dolphins in Miami. Clay had one catch for six yards in the loss to the Dolphins.
Clay presents a myriad of challenges for a defender who might be assigned to him in single coverage, including the fact that he could line up at several different positions.
“You have to find him,” Belichick said of Clay earlier this week. “He’s all over. Sometimes he’s in the normal tight end location but you certainly can’t count on that — flex, could be in the backfield, could be detached as a receiver.”
FOXBORO — While it’s unclear how the Patriots will utilize Darrelle Revis in the regular season-opener Sunday against the Dolphins in Miami, it sounds like he’s intrigued about the challenge of facing wide receiver Mike Wallace.
Revis had nothing but positive things to say about Wallace on Thursday, saying he was “probably the fastest receiver in the league.”
“He’s very fast and he’s a very explosive receiver,” Revis said of Wallace, who was equally as effusive in his praise of Revis earlier in the week.
According to Revis — who faced him several times when he was in New York — the challenge of going up against Wallace means more than just watching him on film.
“Film can play tricks on your eyes sometimes when you watch it,” Revis said when pressed on Wallace’s skill set. “Until you get out there … film speed and game speed are totally two different things. I played against him in the past — a lot of guys on this team have — and I know how fast he is. He’s probably the fastest receiver in the league. We all know that and we are all aware of it as well.”
Then, there’s also the issue that comes with facing a team that is installing a new offensive system. With new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor — who made his bones working with Chip Kelly’s speedy offense in Philly last season — it’s likely that the Dolphins will keep their foot on the gas pedal.
When mixed with the swelling South Florida conditions, it presents a unique set of challenges for the New England defense.
“Miami always plays fast. They played fast in the past,” Revis said. “The weather plays a part as well. That hot weather. We’re aware. We’re aware of all the situations. I think that’s why we have a week to prepare to go through every scenario we can — player and coachwise — and just game plan the best we can.”
Ultimately, Revis — who was signed as a free agent in the spring — is excited for his first regular season action with the Patriots.
“I’m very excited,” he said. “It’s the first week — it’s good to get things going now. I think we’re all excited. We’ve been waiting for this for awhile, and now, it’s here.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Mike Wallace excited for opportunity to go head-to-head with Darrelle Revis||09.03.14 at 12:54 pm ET|
FOXBORO — While there’s some question as to how Darrelle Revis will be deployed in the season opener against the Dolphins — whether he’ll be manning up against a single receiver or working a particular side — one Miami receiver is excited about the prospect of going head-to-head with the Patriots cornerback.
“If he does follow me, it will be an exciting matchup,” Wallace told reporters. “I’ll have fun. Go after it all day long.
“He’s a good player. He’s a really smart, crafty guy,” Wallace said of Revis. “He’s going to be in the right spots. You have to move him off his spots because he’s a guy that’s not going to be fooled with all the movement, jerking around at the line. You’ve got to get going, get to your spots and be fast out of your break.”
Wallace doesn’t sound like the type of player who is going to get drawn into a potential war of words with Revis.
“Me personally, I don’t really have a mental battle with anybody,” he said. “I’m just out there trying to play football. I don’t get into too much back and forth, this or that. For me, mentally, it’s about myself and being in the spots I need to be in, and doing what I’m coached to do. I’m not really worried about one guy.”
Patriots coach Bill Belichick extolled the virtues of Revis on Wednesday. Speaking with Miami reporters on a conference call, he called Revis “very professional” and praised his work ethic.
“Darrelle has done a good job since he’s been here,” Belichick said. “Very professional, smart player, works hard, durable, dependable. He’s really done everything we’ve asked him to do and really tried to do it well. Very professional. I think if any of our players want to see why he’s had such a successful career, all they have to do is watch him prepare off the field and work. He really does a good job there.”
In last year’s game against Miami, the Patriots utilized Aqib Talib on tight end Charles Clay. While Belichick wouldn’t get into specifics on a potential Revis-Clay or Revis-Wallace matchup, he did expand on the pros and cons of using a defensive back on a single receiver.
“The pros and cons of it: the pros are that you have a matchup or maybe more than one matchup that you want,” he said. “The drawbacks are that it forces other people to adjust and you have guys playing multiple positions, and especially if you don’t know where the receivers are going to be, somebody has to make some adjustments there.
“It’s easy for a guy to follow the guy he’s following, but then depending on what personnel groups and formations they use and what defenses you’re in, what type of calls you’re running, then there could be some communication and adjustments there. You just have to weigh those factors out and figure out what you’re comfortable with as a team and how you like the matchups or don’t like [the matchups], how you want to change them and so forth.”
|5 things you have to know about Dolphins||09.01.14 at 9:35 pm ET|
Here are five things you have to know about the Dolphins, who are looking to break the Patriots’ 10-game winning streak when it comes to regular-season openers Sunday in South Florida.
1. They are going to look to push the pace offensively.
Miami imported former Eagles quarterbacks coach Bill Lazor to serve as its new OC, and in an attempt to give the offense a jolt, he’s expected to bring a little Chip Kelly-style flair to the proceedings. That means faster football, and given the fact that the Patriots will be entering into what’s expected to be sweltering South Florida heat, the Dolphins will try and use a quicker tempo to their advantage. For what it’s worth, Miami has been a little quicker than the average NFL team over the last two years under Joe Philbin. Measured using situation-neutral offensive pace — a formula from Football Outsiders that eliminates things like two-minute drills and late-game clock-killing situations to get a truer idea of the offense’s intentions when it comes to offensive pace — the 2012 Dolphins were ninth overall at one play every 29.23 seconds, and last year, on average, they ran one play every 30.08 seconds, 14th quickest in the NFL. Of course, it’s debatable how effective the uptempo style will be. But it’s important to remember that Lazor played a sizable role in the growth and development of Nick Foles in Philly’s fast scheme last year, as Foles went from backup quarterback to SI cover boy in the span of a few months and the Eagles went from worst (4-12 and last in the NFC East) to first (10-6 and a division title) under Kelly. It’s clear Miami is hoping that Ryan Tannehill and the rest of the Dolphins offense can respond the same way in 2014.
2. They are all-in at wide receiver.
The Dolphins have really gone above and beyond when it comes to giving Ryan Tannehill enough options. With the cap hit for Mike Wallace ballooning to $17.25 million this year, the Dolphins are spending a whopping $29.6 million on their 2014 wide receivers’by far the most in the league, according to a June study by CBS Sports. Wallace, Brian Hartline, Rishard Matthews and Brandon Gibson are joined by rookie Jarvis Landry to form a relatively deep group of wide receivers, one that will serve as a nice challenge for a revamped New England secondary at the start of the season. (Some believe Lazor will try and use Wallace in much the same manner the Eagles did with DeSean Jackson, which is an intriguing concept.)
3. The interior of their offensive line is vulnerable.
The Dolphins have struggled with their offensive line dating back to last year — from a pure football perspective, the Incognito-Martin imbroglio simply shone a light on things. Miami allowed a league-high 58 sacks of Tannehill last season, 10 more than the second-place finish (Baltimore’s Joe Flacco was sacked 48 times) and tied for 10th most all-time in a single season. (For some perspective, Houston’s David Carr was sacked an astounding 76 times in 2002, the all-time mark.) Here’s a highlight reel of all 58 sacks, a sequence that lasts almost 10 minutes.
In all, Tannehill has been sacked 93 times in his first two years in the league. (We haven’t even mentioned the fact that the Miami running game was 26th in the league last season — a sizable portion of the blame for those numbers can also be attributed to the offensive line.) And so it was no surprise the Dolphins made offensive line a priority this offseason. They stabilized their left tackle spot with the addition of Branden Albert, while they used their first round pick on Ja’Wuan James, who appears to be the Week 1 right tackle for Miami. But things are still very rough along the interior, as center Mike Pouncey continues to work his way back from offseason hip surgery (Samson Satele will get the start in his place), while guard play has been questionable at best over the course of the summer. Bottom line? If you want to attack this offense, your best bet appears to be up the gut.
4. Their pass rush will test the New England offensive line early.
Left defensive end Cameron Wake (8.5 sacks last year) and right defensive end Olivier Vernon (11.5 sacks last year) combine to form a very nice set of bookends, and are likely the top priority when it comes to pass protection for the Patriots. (Per Football Outsiders, Wake notched at least 20 hurries and 20 quarterback knockdowns for the fourth year in a row.) While the Dolphins are very good off the edge, it would ostensibly be a strength-on-strength matchup against right tackle Sebastian Vollmer and left tackle Nate Solder. Miami could have an edge if it finds a way to get pressure up the middle, as the interior of New England’s offensive line has some personnel questions, particularly if Marcus Cannon is utilized more as a backup swing tackle than one of the two available guard spots. But many of the questions people have had about the overall fitness of the Patriots offensive line will be answered against a pretty good front seven in the opener.
5. They are ready for Rob Gronkowski … if the big tight end does play.
The Dolphins hardly sounded shocked at the proclamation from Gronkowski that he was good to go for Week 1. Miami defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle was asked about Gronkowski’s statement that he was going to play, and he responded with a simple, ‘We assumed that he might.’ In Gronkowski’s career, the Patriots are 6-0 against Miami when he’s in the lineup, but for what it’s worth, the Dolphins have actually done a pretty fair job at containing Gronkowski over the years: In six career games against Miami, he’s averaged four catches, 56 yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game, some of his lowest per game averages against a regular opponent. (In his last two games against Miami, Gronkowski had only only four catches.) It remains to be seen if Gronkowski actually plays, and if he does, how many snaps he’ll take. (His overall football fitness remains in question, and Bill Belichick has said on numerous occasions that you just can run around a track a few times and be ready to play.) But history tells us that the Dolphins have found a way to not stop him completely, but at least slow him down to a point where he not the runaway offensive force he’s been against most teams when he’s been healthy. “He’s an excellent player,” Philbin said Monday when asked about Gronkowski. “He’s been a very, very productive player throughout his career. We’ll have a good plan in place, but he’s certainly an important part of their offense, and a productive part of it. We’ll be ready for him, for sure.”
|Around the AFC East: Dolphins, Bills pull off narrow victories||09.15.13 at 5:12 pm ET|
With the Patriots having Sunday off, it gave us a chance to check out what’s going on in the rest of the AFC East. Here’s a quick look at what happened in the rest of the division over the weekend:
Dolphins (2-0): Miami won a highly entertaining contest Sunday against the Colts and Andrew Luck, coming away with a 24-20 victory to stay unbeaten on the year. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill went 23-for-34 for 319 yards and one touchdown to give Indy its first home loss in 12 months. Miami, which is 2-0 for just the second time since 2004, saw Mike Wallace (nine catches, 115 yards) and Charles Clay (five catches, 109 yards) go over 100 yards receiving. The Dolphins needed the firepower, as Luck had the Colts in position to pull off another comeback win — he had the ball at the Miami 23-yard line with 1:45 left, but tossed three incompletes and was sacked on fourth down to finish things.
Next up: Sunday, Sept. 22 vs. Falcons
Jets (1-1): Like the Patriots, New York also had the weekend off, but managed to make its share of headlines with the decision to place quarterback Mark Sanchez on injured reserve with a designation to return. While coach Rex Ryan said he believed Sanchez could contribute later in the season, the move means that Sanchez will be on the shelf for the next eight weeks. (The earliest Sanchez could be back is Nov. 17 at Buffalo, following the Jets’ bye week.) That means that for the foreseeable future, the quarterback job belongs to rookie Geno Smith, who was a bit of a mixed bag in Thursday’s loss to the Patriots. The West Virginia product was 15-for-35 for 214 yards, and was sacked four times and intercepted three times.
Next up: Sunday, Sept. 22 vs. Bills
Bills (1-1): Buffalo got its first win of the season on Sunday with a dramatic 24-23 victory over the Panthers, thanks in large part to rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, who connected with wide receiver Stevie Johnson on a 2-yard touchdown pass with two seconds left to lift the Bills. Manuel engineered a game-winning drive late in the fourth, a nine-play, 80-yard series where he went 6-for-8 for 51 yards. (He ended the game 27-for-39 for 296 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.) Manuel got some help down the stretch when Carolina (and former Boston College) linebacker Luke Kuechly was penalized for pass interference on a third down play with less than a minute to go to help keep Buffalo alive.
Next up: Sunday, Sept. 22 at Jets