Last week, I was wondering whether Darrelle Revis was worth the money the Jets were paying him because if he's not always going to handle the zero-coverage assignments the Jets give him and they don't benefit greatly from the traps, one-on-ones and blitzes that this enables, they might be better off just employing a more conventional gameplan in the secondary.
In yesterday's game, they were effectively forced to make that move anyway with Revis out (and especially after Marcus Williams left with a knee injury).
Williams had come up big with his fifth interception of the season as Miami looked to complete a pass near the Jets' goal line with no score in the first quarter. He jumped the route well as Tannehill threw late due to pressure. I really hope the knee injury Williams suffered came on the tackle after he made his return and not the celebratory dance he performed afterwards.
It's interesting to note that Antonio Cromartie had his best season ever when Revis was injured in 2012. The Jets also went 3-0 with Revis injured and Cromartie forced into the number one role in 2010. Sure enough, yesterday was perhaps his best game of the season, at least until he got beaten for a score on the last play of the game. It's a shame that had to ruin his performance as he badly missed the tackle to allow DeVante Parker to score. Prior to that he had been in a good position on five incompletions, including one which he almost intercepted (and a more generous official might have given him that after a booth review). He only gave up one other first down, again missing the tackle.
With Williams out, Darrin Walls stepped up. Walls started off pretty well, breaking up a couple of passes, but then he got beaten for two touchdowns and had two other potential touchdowns dropped. He was lucky on two other plays where he got burned on a third down drop and an overthrow. He was in a good position on three other incompletions, so overall it was a mixed bag for Walls.
As the nickel back, Buster Skrine was also a mixed bag. He gave up four first downs, including a 40-yarder over the top to set up the first score and break up the shut-out late in the third quarter. He also missed three tackles, one of which should have been a tackle for a loss. Skrine did make some good open field tackles and a couple of nice third down plays in coverage, one being a leaping pass deflection. Skrine was back in a full-time role yesterday, for the first time since the bye, following which his role seemed to have been reduced.
Dexter McDougle became the dime back with Williams out. He got beaten for a first down on third-and-10 and gave up one other first down in zone coverage.
Dee Milliner still didn't get any playing time and, as I alluded to last week, I wonder if he's not really part of their plans this year. Or at all, even. To his credit, Milliner was still displaying a positive attitude on the sideline, but it must be frustrating for him. Perhaps he's still not 100 percent.
At safety, Calvin Pryor broke up a couple of passes and had a tackle for a loss. He also came unblocked on a blitz to pressure Ryan Tannehill. Most importantly, he avoided any bad mistakes. The other starter, Marcus Gilchrist, had a few important tackles, but did get beaten a few times in coverage. He also overpursued on Parker's touchdown and there was one play where he made a poor effort to tackle the ball carrier, half-heartedly throwing a shoulder at him as he broke Skrine's tackle.
Finally, Rontez Miles saw brief action again, getting in on an open field tackle over the middle.
Next up…Some ups and downs on the special teams unit…