Friday, September 14, 2012
How to replace Revis, Keller and Thomas
By Rich Cimini
No surprises here, but Rex Ryan announced Friday that CB Darrelle Revis (concussion), TE Dustin Keller (hamstring) and OLB Bryan Thomas (hamstring) won't play Sunday against the Steelers. Examining the impact of each injury:
REVIS: You can't replace the best cornerback in football, but you can adjust your game plan. Kyle Wilson will start for Revis, opposite Antonio Cromartie. Ellis Lankster becomes the No. 3 corner, with Isaiah Trufant also a possibility. It wouldn't be a surprise if they put Cromartie on WR Mike Wallace -- similar body types and skill sets -- using Wilson on Antonio Brown. When the Steelers go to a three-receiver package, the Jets could slide Wilson inside to his familiar slot position, where he'd cover Emmanuel Sanders. The Jets might have to entertain the idea of playing more zone coverage than usual.
KELLER: Jeff Cumberland figures to get the bulk of the snaps at tight end, especially on passing downs. Cumberland is a decent receiver, but he's no Keller, who is Mark Sanchez's security blanket in short and intermediate zones. Cumberland isn't a good blocker, which will create problems when the Jets go to their two-TE package. Konrad Reuland isn't a sturdy in-line blocker and neither is Dedrick Epps, who was re-signed Friday to provide depth. This could mean more playing time for OT Jason Smith, the "jumbo" tight end.
THOMAS: Rex Ryan said Garrett McIntyre will replace Thomas, but the more likely scenario is they eliminate the position -- meaning they play more 4-3 base than usual. It makes sense, especially with NT Sione Po'uha set to return to the lineup. They have better numbers on the line than linebacker, so you might as well play to your strength and keep the fourth LB spot off the field.