Rookie cornerback Darelle Revis has solid debut in starting lineup for Jets
"It was my first game back, so I was a little bit nervous and had a little bit of butterflies," the rookie cornerback said. "But once the first play was over, I was excited and ready to go."
He certainly was. Revis made a handful of nice plays in the Jets' 20-12 victory over the Giants on Saturday night and showed flashes of why they traded up to draft him No. 14 overall in April.
"I thought he did a good job," coach Eric Mangini said. "I'm sure it's a little dramatic change from being home watching TV to transitioning into the game."
The playful poke was about Revis' 20-day holdout, which ended Aug. 15. While his teammates were going through two practices a day during training camp, Revis was in Phoenix trying to stay in shape.
"I wasn't in pads, but I was still working out, keeping up," Revis said.
He was expected to compete for a starting job when the Jets drafted him, and that looked less likely as his holdout wore on. Once he got to camp, Revis received a crash course in the defense and made a smooth transition, working with the starters at left cornerback while Andre Dyson and Justin Miller sat out with injuries.
On Saturday, Revis found himself in the starting lineup against the Giants after less than a week of practices.
"It was fast," Revis said. "It's a different transition from college, but you just have to slow the game down. The schemes that we run and what we do as a team and as a defense, you just go out there and do what the coaches are teaching you."
Revis has proven to be a quick study. He had five tackles and a pass defensed against the Giants while playing left cornerback for most of the first half and a few minutes in the third quarter. Eli Manning didn't test the rookie as much as most believed he would, throwing to his side about as often as he would against a veteran.
"Yeah, I expected them to come at me," Revis said. "The coaches expected him to come at me. They were prepping me a lot. You know, they are going to come at you, you're a rookie. They are going to test you. In my mind, I just had to bring my 'A' game."
Revis missed a tackle when Anthony Mix caught a 9-yard pass from Manning and eluded the cornerback. On the next play, Revis came right back and tackled Mix immediately after a 3-yard gain.
"I play confident," Revis said. "I don't try to play scared."
Late in the first half, Revis made a nice play when he knocked the ball away from Sinorice Moss, who might have been able to score if he had caught it. Early in the third quarter, the Giants had a third-and-7 when Anthony Wright completed a pass to Kevin Boss. Revis met Boss immediately and pulled him down a yard short of a first down.
"I was out there, I made a couple of tackles," Revis said nonchalantly. "Just getting bodies on bodies and just tackling."
After the Giants' first series in the second half, Mangini gave Revis a break from the secondary and put him in to field punts. Revis, who was a dangerous returner for the University of Pittsburgh, had one return for 13 yards.
"He played different spots: He played inside, he played outside and he had a chance to return a few punts," Mangini said. "That was important to give him some reps at the different roles he'll be playing."
Revis spoke to his uncle, former Pro Bowl defensive end Sean Gilbert, before the game to try to ease his nerves about making his NFL debut.
"He said, 'Just go out and play football," Revis said. "'You know how to play that, you have been playing it your whole life. Just come out here and relax and have fun."
Revis will get to experience a whole new set of firsts when he plays in the season opener on Sept. 9 against New England. Until then, just being on an NFL field in the preseason suits Revis just fine.
"I was telling some of the veterans, 'I was just happy to be out here with you guys," he said, "'and finally get to play."
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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