Commentary

Replace Revis? Wilson won't have to

Jets don't expect Kyle to fill Darrelle's shoes, just to bring out his own Sunday best

Updated: September 27, 2012, 9:44 PM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- It's never easy to replace a player like Darrelle Revis, a man widely considered the best cornerback in the NFL, and one who gave the Jets a measure of confidence every time he laced up his cleats. Kyle Wilson may technically be the one asked to do it, but the Jets' starting nickel isn't some wide-eyed unknown facing a new challenge.

[+] EnlargeKyle Wilson and Darrelle Revis
Aristide Economopoulos/US PresswireKyle Wilson doesn't have to be Darrelle Revis on Sunday.

"It's not that much more than what I've been doing," Wilson said.

And that's true. Wilson started for Revis in the second game of the season, a loss to the Steelers, but he has also played more snaps than Revis in games they both appeared in this season. Wilson has been in 77 percent of the defensive snaps.

So Wilson can play, but that doesn't mean he can fill Revis' shoes. The third-year player out of Boise State was a first-round draft pick but hasn't yet lived up to the expectations that accompany the tag. Is this the week he does?

Turns out that's not what the Jets are expecting from him.

"Kyle Wilson is going to give us his best and we're also going to put (him) in situations where he can succeed," defensive coordinator Mike Pettine said. "We have a lot of confidence in him. He had a great offseason, he's off to a good start this year. But we're not going to ask him to be Darrelle and put him out there on one side of the field all by himself with out any help anywhere nearby. We wouldn't do that. Kyle is going to continue to be him(self) and we're not going to ask him to be anything more than that."

Wilson has turned to Revis as a mentor. The two have trained together in the offseason for a few years in Arizona. Their lockers are right next to each other.

"I've been studying with him and taking notes ever since I got here," Wilson said.

Despite the fact that Revis is one of his close friends and the two trained together during the lockout, Wilson said he didn't have an emotional reaction to hearing the cornerback would be out for a prolonged period with an ACL tear.

"I was thinking we had work the next day and it was a usual day after a game, correct and review from the game," Wilson said. "So I didn't really think too much about it."

That may sound unbelievably cold, but perhaps Wilson is trying to sidestep what will be a pretty intense spotlight as the Jets take on San Francisco a week after losing Revis.

Wilson is usually assigned the slot receiver, but could be taking on some receivers one-on-one. And Wilson could be called on to cover a player Revis had some competition, and words, with in Randy Moss. Asked about him, Wilson was demure.

"He's still Randy Moss," Wilson said.

And although WIlson appears to be a person who keeps it close to the vest, when he is playing, he can be very competitive, talking smack at the line of scrimmage if it helps.

"If you played against me you'll know," Wilson said. "That's the best way I can describe it."

So Wilson will continue to play the way he normally does and not get thrown by the weight of expectations.

"Obviously it's a nice opportunity and I'm definitely going to do everything I can," Wilson said, "but I'm not going to change up something that's been working well for me."

Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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