A lot has been made about the Darrelle Revis signing by the New England Patriots this offseason. For every person that assumes Revis will have a shutdown year at corner their is another who assumes he will be a let down. Based on my recent research into Revis' statistics, and my own view of him as a player I will take a look at what impact I expect to see from Revis joining the Patriots
First lets take a look at Revis' statistics in the three seasons from 2010-2012 to see statistically what to expect
Average Receptions Allowed (season) - 41.7 Average Opponent Catch Rate - 44.6% Average Yards Per Catch - 11.5 Opposing QB Rating - 44.6
These statistics of course mean nothing without other information to compare it to. Looking at the Patriots own defensive players first, Belichick favorite Kyle Arrington allowed a league worst 80% completion percentage just a few years back and Aqib Talib allowed a whopping 2 yards per coverage snap in 2013 compared to a 0.7 yards per coverage snap for Revis, first in the league for 2013.
But these statistics already tell us what we know, Revis is an upgrade at corner, so just what impact can fans expect to see from Revis in 2014?
1. Expect To See Revis Often - Since his unfortunate knee injury in the 2012 season Revis has had a multitude of fans and media question his durability. This initially appears to be a legitimate argument until you look back at Revis' games played per season. In 7 seasons Darelle Revis has played all 16 five times, a mark that Aqib Talib has never met, and a mark of consistency. In the one season other than 2012 in which he sustained injury he still gutted out 13 games, so despite common misconception expect to see Revis on the field for most if not all of the Patriot games this season.
2. Revis Island - Starting with probably the most repeated phrase by New York fans during Revis' early career Revis truly has the ability to play receivers 1 on 1. In 2013, considered a down year for Revis, he managed to win on 81% of his straight man coverage assignments. So whenever Revis was left "on an island" Revis only allowed a catch 19% of the time. Knowing this fantastic statistic Belichick will surely use Revis to blanket the opposing teams number one.
Also Revis not only shows these impressive abilities on outside receivers but smaller receivers as well winning 18 of 22 (82%) of the time against Steve Smith and 4 of 5 times (80%) of the time against Desean Jackson. Covering elite speed receivers was a trouble for Talib in his time as a Patriot which should be fixed with Talib.
3. Unique Coverage - When the New England Patriots had their last great corner in Ty Law they showed a heavy dose of shaded safeties and combo man-zone coverage. In 2013 this began to show up in the playbook again with Talib playing well on the number one receiver, but with persistent injuries and a performance dip these sorts of coverage were rendered ineffective in the second half of the season.
With Revis' previously mentioned unique man coverage prowess look for Belichick to count on Revis to man up the number one receiver and leave the rest of the defense to stack the other side of the field. Whether it's a safety or two shading the side opposite Revis over the top, or unique hybrid man-zone coverage where Revis is counted on to man up one man while the rest of the defense roams in zones, Revis' man coverage abilities will give Belichick's football mind freedom to draw up unique coverages, and allow other Patriots players an opportunity to make a play.
4. Browner/Dennard Looking Like A Stud - I don't know how many Patriots fans remember Tyrone Poole but the chances are it i not a great deal. Poole Started all 16 games for the 2003 Super Bowl winning Patriot defense across from Ty Law. Poole had fallen off the NFL radar in the two years prior to joining the Patriots only starting four games in 2002 however when he was placed opposite Ty Law in 2003 he had a bounce back year grabbing six interceptions.
Poole only started 7 games over the next three seasons after his solid year in 2003 and for that reason remains as a perfect example of what an elite corner can do for the other players in the secondary.
I look for the number two corner on the Patriots roster during the 2014 season to have a similar jump in performance with Revis starting opposite them. Regardless of whether Dennard or Browner emerges as the number two corner I expect the number two corner to take advantage of opposing quarterbacks being afraid to throw in Revis' direction.