FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Darrelle Revis doesn't get caught off-balance too often, but he seemed a bit rattled Tuesday when told that Rex Ryan called him the best player in the NFL after the way he shut down the Indianapolis Colts' Reggie Wayne.
"What?" the New York Jets' Pro Bowl cornerback asked incredulously. "Thanks, Rex, for the quote. I thank Rex for respecting me that high. I do strive to be the best in what I do. If he feels that way, he feels that way. Shutting somebody down to one catch for one yard is mind-boggling."
Revis was reciting Wayne's stat line from last Saturday night's AFC wild-card game. It was a stunning performance, considering Wayne led the AFC in receptions (111) and times thrown to (173). The Jets put Revis on Wayne the entire game, reducing him to a rumor. Wayne was so frustrated that he sounded off after the game, saying he shouldn't have bothered to suit up.
It was Revis' most noteworthy performance of the season, a season that began with big headlines because of an acrimonious holdout. He received a new contract a week before the start of the regular season -- four years, $46 million -- but he suffered a hamstring injury in Week 2 and never really played like the Revis of '09 until late in the season.
Because of his reputation, and perhaps because of weaknesses in the secondary, Revis was targeted only 56 times, according to Stats, Inc. Perspective: The Jets' other starting cornerback, Antonio Cromartie, was targeted twice as many times.
Ah, but will Tom Brady make like Peyton Manning, refusing to throw a ball into Revis' area code? That will be one of the fascinating storylines Sunday in the AFC divisional playoffs between the Jets and New England Patriots.
A lot could depend on Revis' assignment. After Tuesday's practice, he said he still had no idea how he will be deployed. In the Week 13 meeting, a 45-3 Patriots win, Revis covered Wes Welker for most of the game. Welker finished with a team-high seven catches for 80 yards, but his biggest play -- an 18-yard touchdown reception -- came on nickel back Drew Coleman.
"I'm only one piece in the puzzle," said Revis, trying to downplay his role. "This isn't tennis and this isn't golf. It's going to take a team effort."
In previous Jets-Patriots games, it used to be Revis versus Randy Moss, but the Moss trade changed everything. Chances are, they will put Revis on Welker again, keeping Cromartie on Deion Branch, changing it up at times based on down-and-distance and formation.
If it were only that simple for the Jets.
The Patriots also have Brandon Tate on the outside, rookies Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski at tight end and ex-Jets Danny Woodhead out of the backfield. At least the Jets can count on Revis shutting down his man, whoever that may be.
"To have a guy like Reve, it takes one guy out of the equation," safety Eric Smith said. "That's one less guy we have to worry about."