Jets coach Ryan backing Revis for honors
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Rex Ryan hit the campaign trail with a new slogan: Vote Revis '09.
The New York Jets coach lobbied hard Thursday for cornerback Darrelle Revis to win the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year award, glowing about his dominant season.
"I went back and looked, and I was going to be subtle about this, but if he's not the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, something is wrong with the system," Ryan said. "Nobody, and I mean nobody, in maybe the history of the game has had the challenges that he's faced week in and week out."
Revis, a former Pitt player and Aliquippa grad who has six interceptions and an NFL-leading 30 passes defensed in his third season, has routinely shut down opposing teams' top receivers such as New England's Randy Moss, Buffalo's Terrell Owens, Carolina's Steve Smith and Houston's Andre Johnson.
"Look at the fact that he's out there on an island one-on-one, and teams still can't throw that way," Ryan said. "If they do, it's a mistake. It's amazing. He deserves it, and he's on the No. 1 defense in the league."
Green Bay's Charles Woodson, New Orleans' Darren Sharper and Denver's Elvis Dumervil are thought to be among Revis' main competition for the honor, which is awarded by The Associated Press and selected by a nationwide media panel. Only four cornerbacks have won it since 1973, and none since San Francisco's Deion Sanders in 1994.
Ryan was reminded that Woodson, in particular, is also having an exceptional year with eight interceptions and two sacks.
"Yes, but Charles can't go out on a corner like this guy can," he said. "He can move inside and he can blitz. Revis would be a great blitzer, but I've got the best cover guy in America sitting over here, so he's going to be covering. He's not blitzing."
Ryan coached Ray Lewis and Ed Reed in Baltimore when they won the award.
"Of course, those guys deserve those awards, but I don't think those guys even had the impact that Darrelle Revis has had on this football team," Ryan said. "I think that's why, I'll get off my soapbox, he's earned that award. It's not right on my part to stand up here and not maybe try to sell that to the public. He's earned this."
When Ryan took over as coach in January, he called Revis the best cornerback in the league. Revis has certainly lived up to the hype, holding Moss to nine catches for 58 yards and a touchdown in two games, Owens to six receptions for 44 yards and no scores in two games, and Smith to one pass for 5 yards. Johnson, among the league leaders with 81 receptions, had just four for 35 yards against Revis in Week 1.
"I guess he can get beat, but I'll take my chances," Ryan said. "If there's one guy that I want to cover somebody, with my paycheck on it, I want it to be Darrelle Revis. Period."