- Matt Ehalt, ESPN New York contributor
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Losing Darrelle Revis hasn't made Rex Ryan any less confident in his defense.
Just hours after trading the All-Pro cornerback to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New York Jets coach once again vowed the Jets will be stout defensively in 2013.
"We will play great defense to the New York Jets' standard. That is how I've approached it from the day I took this job, I knew it would happen and I'm telling you it will happen again, we will play great defense and continue to play great defense," Ryan said on a conference call Sunday night.
"That's not a slight to Darrelle Revis whatsoever. Darrelle Revis is a tremendous player, he's been a tremendous player, and I think he'll continue to be one as well."
Jets GM John Idzik said that Ryan was heavily involved in the discussion about trading Revis, although Ryan added that he never directly had a conversation with another team about Revis.
Ryan, who has coached Revis since 2009, has always been one of the cornerback's biggest advocates, as Revis allowed Ryan to utilize his blitz-heavy scheme.
In the three full seasons Ryan had Revis, as Revis missed most of last year due to a torn ACL, the Jets defense ranked first, third and fifth in yards allowed per game. Last season, the Jets finished eighth.
The coach didn't answer whether he believes this trade makes the Jets better, saying how it's difficult to prognosticate and the Jets don't even know what players they will get with the two draft picks they receive in the deal. Ryan did say, though, he believes it helps both teams.
"I think this, as in all good trades,will benefit both teams," Ryan said. "I don't take back one word that I've ever said about Darrelle Revis. I believe he is the best corner in football without question. But make no mistake, as I mentioned the day I took the job five years ago, we will play great defense and the standard we've set as the New York Jets will not diminish."
If losing Revis isn't a hard enough challenge for Ryan to overcome, the team also lost several other defensive starters and key players this offseason. Safeties LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell, and defensive end Mike DeVito left in free agency, while defensive tackle Sione Pouha, linebacker Bart Scott and safety Eric Smith were all cut.
With two years left on his deal, and constant questions about his job security, Ryan's perhaps going to have to do his best coaching job yet to get this roster to outperform expectations. Owner Woody Johnson has confidence in Ryan and expects the defense won't miss a beat without Revis.
"I have a lot of confidence he's going to do what he says he's going to do on defense for sure because he's done it every year he's been here. I think he's a very, very good coach," Johnson said. "Also, he's going to be given a lot of young players. We are going to pick up some very, very good talent, I hope, in the draft. I think he'll make the best use of it."