FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Darrelle Revis was out on the practice field Thursday, making play after impressive play.
Then came the two words from a few of his New York Jets teammates that should spell trouble for opposing wide receivers.
The All-Pro cornerback declared his bothersome left hamstring 100 percent healthy earlier in the week, the first time since Week 1 Revis has been able to say that. And, he’s proving it.
“He’s had a great week of practice,” defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said.
Good thing, too, since the Jets will play Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers’ pass-happy offense Sunday at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
“Their passing game is amazing,” Revis said. “Aaron Rodgers is, I think, one of the best quarterbacks in the league and they’ve got some good wide receivers, too. … We’ve got to hold up on the back end this week and try to get to Aaron Rodgers as well with our pressure.”
Having a healthy Revis is sure to help with that.
“He’s an impact regardless if he’s 100 percent or not,” Rodgers said.
Revis missed two games after straining the hamstring against New England in Week 2, was extremely sore when he returned and was still not completely healthy in New York’s last game at Denver. He spent the team’s six-day bye-week break rehabilitating the hamstring.
“It helps out a lot having him back 100 percent,” cornerback Antonio Cromartie said. “I know he couldn’t wait to get back to 100 percent. Having him at full strength, running around and making plays at practice speaks volumes. Now, we can just go out and do what we know we’re capable of doing, and that’s keeping the pass game under control.”
Cromartie has done a terrific job filling in as the starter in Revis’ usual left cornerback spot on the field. Now, Ryan and Pettine can mix and match the two.
“That’s the beauty of it,” Ryan said. “We can be flexible now. We can do whatever we want. We can play right and left. We can match Darrelle on the top guy. We can match Cromartie on the top guy. We’ll let them try to figure it out.”
The Jets’ pass defense is ranked a subpar 22nd, and the defense is 12th overall. Ryan and his players insist those numbers will improve soon, and Revis is a major reason.
“When you talk about one of the best corners in football, if not the best, to me, it’s a big part of what we are,” Pettine said. “It think it brings some certain areas of the call sheet that now can be emphasized more than they have been, just because we can lock certain receivers. We feel like we have two No. 1 corners, so there are times where we can lock one side, lock the other side and be able to defend the rest of the field. It opens some things up for us.”
Including getting after the quarterback on an even more regular basis.
“You generally can’t get a sack in this league without good coverage back there,” Ryan said. “And, usually you can’t get an interception without a good pass rush, so they go hand in hand. That’s why when you have Darrelle healthy, Cromartie out there healthy and all of our guys playing and contributing, that ought to make itself an opportunity for us to get some sacks.”
That will be particularly important this weekend against Rodgers, one of the league’s most dangerous mobile quarterbacks. The coaches even made up a tape of Rodgers’ best scrambles from the last two seasons to show the players.
“Just to kind of nail the point home that this is not a game to go outlaw, as we say, in the pass rushing,” Pettine said, “and think, ‘I can make a play’ and he ends up stepping up and making a play either with his feet or making a throw on the run.”
Rodgers’ numbers haven’t been as impressive as his first two seasons, with 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions — already two more than he had all last regular season. He and his wide receivers have also frequently misfired, and leading pass-catcher Donald Driver hasn’t practiced with a strained quadriceps muscle.
“Any time a team’s going to come after you, you’ve got to be on the same page as the quarterback,” wide receiver Greg Jennings said. “Obviously, there were a few miscues, but that happens throughout the course of a game, throughout the course of the season. It leaves room for correction.”
The Jets (5-1) just don’t want the Packers (4-3) to start feeling good again against their secondary.
“They have a lot of dangerous threats,” Cromartie said. “They do have an explosive offense with those guys, and they’re not going to stray away from what they do. We can’t, either.”
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)