‘Revis Island’ awaits Ravens

Street Talk ‘Revis Island’ awaits Ravens

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OWINGS MILLS — The Baltimore Ravens have no plans to avoid a side of the field regarded as the Bermuda Triangle of the NFL: Revis Island.

Inhabited by New York Jets All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, Revis Island is considered the place where passing games go to die, a dangerous territory where interceptions and pass deflections are a predictable outcome.

Could Revis be vulnerable or rusty after a 36-day holdout halted when he received a $46 million contract extension?

The sarcasm was practically dripping from Jets coach Rex Ryan’s booming voice during a conference call Thursday with Baltimore reporters.

"I think he looks terrible," Ryan said when asked how Revis has been doing at practice. "They need to throw a bunch of balls over there to him."

Heading into Monday night’s high-profile season opener against the Jets at the new Meadowlands stadium, the Ravens are taking a respectful, but far from fearful approach when it comes to game-planning for Revis.

That’s a reasonable strategy considering the Ravens feature three wide receivers with a combined six Pro Bowl appearances in Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason and T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

"We understand what type of player Revis is, but we’re just going to go out there and play football," Mason said. "He’s a very good corner and we understand that part, but we’re not going to tailor our offense because of one guy. They’ve got 10 other guys that can play football as well.

"It just so happens they have the best corner in football on their team. We’re not going to tweak our offense or anything. We’re just going to go out there and play football and try to find some matchups. Hopefully, we can move the ball down the field."

The Ravens aren’t backing down from the challenge that Revis presents.

Baltimore has upgraded its receiving corps significantly this offseason, trading for Boldin, retaining Mason and signing Houshmandzadeh on Tuesday to a one-year contract.

Between that trio, tight end Todd Heap, Pro Bowl runner Ray Rice and quarterback Joe Flacco, this figures to be a formidable offense.

"We don’t play too much into, ‘We’re not going after this guy or that guy,’" said Boldin, who figures to match up the most against Revis. "We’re attacking them as a defense. No, we don’t feel like we have to shy away from anybody. As an offense, we’re going to do what we do best and that’s just go out and play football."

Revis reported roughly four to five pounds overweight, according to Ryan.

That isn’t expected to negate the pure talent of the 5-foot-11, 198-pounder who’s regarded as the top cornerback in the league.

Revis, 25, was named to his second consecutive Pro Bowl last season and was voted the Most Valuable Player of a team that went to the AFC championship game.

The Ravens long expected the Jets to resolve their contract dispute with Revis, which was a major storyline on the popular HBO Hard Knocks program that featured the Jets this preseason.

Now, they anticipate seeing the real Revis on the field Monday night.

"Yeah, I think definitely," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We will expect to see a great player out there. I think there’s a reason that they wanted him back so badly. There’s a reason they paid him so much money. He’s worth it. So, it puts them at their very best, but we expected it. We didn’t think for one second he wasn’t going to be there."

Revis’ presence provides the Jets with a true shutdown cornerback capable of cutting off passing lanes on his side of the field. He transformed New England Patriots wide receiver Randy Moss into a nonfactor last season.

Perhaps reading from the same script as Ryan, former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott said he hopes the Ravens target Revis to see if he’s able to keep up.

"I hope everybody tries him out," Scott said. "Then, they can understand what we see and what everybody who faced him last year saw.

Revis has outstanding range, instincts, leaping ability and a sense of timing for what’s going to happen next.

He’s a game-changing impact player, a rare cornerback in today’s passing-oriented league.

"Probably instincts," Boldin said when asked what separates Revis from the ordinary cornerbacks. "A lot of times, guys just have a knack for the game and I think he’s one of those guys."

Last season, Revis was named first-team All-Pro. He intercepted six passes, deflecting 34 passes and recorded 72 tackles. He scored one touchdown.

"He’s a big, physical guy," Flacco said. "He’s quick and he can move. He plays hard, he plays fast. He’s just a good player."

Although Houshmandzadeh suggested that Revis can’t approximate being in football shape no matter how much he worked out during his holdout, Boldin is expecting to see the usual high standard from the native of Aliquippa, Pa.

"No, he’s a professional," Boldin said. "This isn’t his first year in the league. I’m sure he knows how to prepare, even if he wasn’t in training camp."


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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors. 

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