By Tim Graham
The New York Jets still haven't placed all-world cornerback Darrelle Revis on season-ending injured reserve.
Jets coach Rex Ryan has said as long as a miniscule chance exists Revis could return from a torn knee ligament in time for the Super Bowl, they don't want to eliminate the possibility.
Observers wonder if Ryan is trying to motivate his players by suggesting the season isn't over because of Revis' injury. But it just might be.
Buffalo Bills quarterback/receiver Brad Smith was Revis' teammate for four years with the Jets. I had a chance to catch up with Smith this week and asked for his take on what Revis means to the Jets.
"Schematically, he's a big deal," Smith said. "The defense is based on him. He's a guy who can shut down half the field, and you can do a lot of other stuff with the other 10 guys as far as blitzes and different looks. When you don't have that, then you have to play more honest.
"Not only that, but he's a loss emotionally. When you have a guy like that who can give you that confidence, that might be the biggest thing."
How much hope does it give an opposing quarterback to prepare for a Revis-less defense?
"It's definitely a plus," Smith said. "You feel better about going up against a defense without the best cornerback in the league. You're excited to go up against him when he is playing because you want to test yourself against the best, but when he's out you have a better chance to see a lot more of the field on most plays."
Because of that, the AFC East became much easier for the Bills to navigate without Revis. The Jets will have more trouble accumulating victories and making a run for the division title or a wild-card berth.
But they already have a victory over the Bills, and Smith noted that Revis' absence won't make the Jets a walkover.
"I'm sure Rex and those guys will do something to make up for it with their schemes," Smith said. "Guys will step up. We as a team have to go out there and beat the Jets, not Darrelle Revis."