For the past couple days on ESPN's "First Take," resident provocateur Skip Bayless has argued the New York Jets should stick star cornerback Darrelle Revis on New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker for the entire game Sunday.
Game analyst KC Joyner agrees that approach makes perfect sense when you consider Welker is Tom Brady's favorite target, and Revis is coming off a masterful performance against the NFL's leading receiver. Revis held Indianapolis Colts star Reggie Wayne to one catch for 1 yard last week.
Joyner, however, endorses an approach that would seem counterintuitive on the surface. Joyner explains Deion Branch truly is the Patriots' most dangerous receiver.
On throws that travel no farther 10 yards in the air from the line of scrimmage, Branch averaged 8.1 yards per target. Welker averaged just 6.6 yards, with his unusually high number of drops factoring in.
As for yards after the catch, Welker added 4.8 yards per reception compared to 4.9 yards for Branch (not counting his four games with the Seattle Seahawks).
But perhaps the biggest reason Revis should stay with Branch -- or at least mix up coverages, as Oakland Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha argued Friday on "First Take" -- is Branch's ability to go deep.
On passes that traveled 11 yards or farther, Branch caught 18 for 404 yards with four touchdowns. Welker caught 16 for 177 yards.
To summarize, Joyner writes: "Putting Revis on Welker would take away a strong short pass threat but putting him on Branch would take away both a short threat and a long threat. It's like placing two castaways on Revis Island instead of one."
Another issue to consider for the Jets is the knee injury nickel back Drew Coleman suffered Thursday. We're not sure of the severity, but he wasn't on the field for the portion of Friday's practice that was open to the media.