Earlier this week we used fuzzy and warm words like “slim” to describe the likelihood of Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis doing anything but playing Sunday against the Steelers. That’s because at the time his concussion was deemed to be of the mild variety, an adjective that still applies.
But concussions are an odd, unpredictable injury, and even though he was cleared for physical activity Thursday and participated in non-contact practice for the first time Friday, there was still a significant hurdle which remained uncleared. That was the part about facing live contact, and a hit of any kind, and therefore Revis has been ruled out for Week 2 by head coach Rex Ryan.
That sound you heard was the owners or Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, and Ben Roethlisberger rejoicing, and taking shots of Patron while streaking through office cubicles. Fellow employees barely noticed because in the year 2012 casual Friday has now been stretched to its logical limit.
Revis, who’s rated the NFL’s best cornerback by Pro Football Focus, will likely be replaced by Kyle Wilson, with Antonio Cromartie sliding up to become the No. 1 corner. Who exactly the top corner is for the Jets this week is irrelevant, because Wilson — a third-year player who’s started only 13 of a possible 33 games while playing behind Revis and Cromartie — will line up across from one of the Steelers’ top two receivers who don’t truly have a No. 1 or No. 2 distinction anymore. As a former first-round pick, Wilson has talent and ability, but he’s still a significant step down from Revis, who’s far better equipped to keep up with Wallace’s explosive speed.
With the threat of a banishment to Revis island looming, both Brown and Wallace were excluded from the top 20 receivers in our composite rankings this week. Cromartie is still sound technically, although he’s prone to taking unnecessary risks. That’s why I’m not quite willing to put both Steelers wideouts in the top 20, but one is deserving, while the other isn’t far behind.
I’ll lean to Brown since Cromartie is likely to shadow Wallace for most of the game. That will give Brown one of the most appealing matchups of any receiver this week with Revis on the sideline, along with his ability to cut off half the field.