FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Ray Lewis is thrilled Darrelle Revis is back with the New York Jets.
This way, the Baltimore linebacker says, the Ravens won’t have to hear any nonsense if they beat them Monday night.
“I’m just glad he is signed, so there are no excuses,” Lewis said in a conference call with New York media Thursday. “Don’t come and say, ‘Oh, we didn’t have Revis.’ Have everybody you need to have. … Stack your deck and let’s play football.”
“If you need to put it in your locker room,” Jets coach Rex Ryan said, “then go for it.”
Revis signed a four-year deal Monday, ending his 36-day holdout and rejoining his Jets teammates. He will be on the field against the Ravens when the Jets play their first regular-season game at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
“I’d just tell Ray that that’s a good quote and we’ll see him Monday night,” Revis said with a huge smile. “And, he can’t do his dance, either, because it isn’t his home turf. Just tell him that.”
Ryan coached Lewis for several years as an assistant with the Ravens, and they won a Super Bowl together in 2001. Ryan jokingly said Tuesday that maybe he’d spell Revis to give Baltimore “hope that he’s not out there.”
“The only hope I’m looking for is in God,” Lewis said. “That’s it. I don’t look for any hope (elsewhere). Darrelle Revis puts his pants on one leg at a time. He’s not a machine. He’s a simple man, and he has to deal with everything that we’re willing to bring to the table.”
Revis was a full participant at practice Thursday, with Ryan taking him out just for a few plays.
“Hopefully, his 36-day layoff didn’t hurt him,” Lewis said. “When you talk about giving us hope, we don’t need hope. You all bring your own hope. We have enough hope over here. We’re packing our bags. We’re not packing our bags to play water polo. We’re packing our bags to come play football.”
Ryan, who was close to Lewis and even tried to recruit him to come to the Jets when he became coach, was amused by the comments.
“Ray was the most inspirational player that I’ve ever had the honor of coaching,” Ryan said. “Guy’s an amazing guy. He’s all-in. It’s team, and his team only, and that’s all he cares about. That’s the way it should be. He’s going to be going up against a team this week that, trust me, we don’t care about them, either. It’s going to be a no-holds-barred match.”
Lewis has heard a lot of what Ryan has said in the last several months – all the big talk about winning a Super Bowl and having the best defense in the league again.
“The only danger it can be is writing a check that you can’t cash,” Lewis said. “Rex can talk all he wants to. Rex isn’t putting on pads, so that’s pressure on his players. If it’s pressure and his players respond to that, then let them respond.”
Ryan said everyone’s “fortunate” that he’s not in pads – something that he agrees with Lewis on. But, he doesn’t think his confidence makes his players targets.
“My players haven’t made those comments, I’ve made those comments,” Ryan said. “So, the pressure is on me, not on our players. … If you want to win it, you ought to be man enough to stand up there and say, ‘We expect to win.’ And, I’ve got news for you: We expect to win this week, next week and every week.”
A lot of the Jets’ success rides on the right arm of quarterback Mark Sanchez, who threw 12 touchdown passes, but also was intercepted 20 times as a rookie. Lewis knows the game plan is to shut down the running game and force Sanchez to make plays.
“All we have to do is look at the film,” Lewis said. “He struggles a lot when he has to throw the ball a lot. That’s just not his forte. It’s not their team’s thing.”
All that said, Lewis and Ryan share a mutual respect – but they’ll put aside their friendship when they kick things off Monday night.
“We understand that Rex had a long career here and we understand what Rex represents, but now Rex is with the Jets,” Lewis said. “The Ravens are the Ravens, and we will continue to be the Ravens. I just think everybody is excited.
“Rex wants to win bad, but at the same time, we want to win bad, too.”
NOTES: On the Jets’ first injury report of the season, linebacker Calvin Pace is officially listed as out, as expected, with a broken right foot. Safety Brodney Pool did not participate in practice with a sprained ankle, while defensive end Shaun Ellis (knee) was limited. … Ryan confirmed that the Jets brought back quarterback Kevin O’Connell, who’ll be placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. O’Connell was waived on Aug. 31.