Last week, the Redskins faced one of the NFL’s best offensive players in Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones.
On Sunday, they’ll face one of the game’s best defenders in Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Revis, 30, has been named to the Pro Bowl in six of the last seven seasons. He’s also been a first team All-Pro four times, including last year as a member of the Super Bowl champion Patriots.
“It’s a great challenge,” Redskins Coach Jay Gruden said. “Every route, you have to be perfect. He’s very patient. He can run. There’s really not a negative thing you can say about the guy.”
“You’d like to say, ‘Well, he’s weak in the slot’,” Gruden continued. “’[Or] he’s not very good outside versus this move or this release or this size guy or this quick guy.’ He’s good versus everything.”
Revis, who signed a five-year, $70 million in March to return to New York, could be involved in one of the most intriguing individual matchups of the season…if, of course, Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson returns from a hamstring injury in time to suit up Sunday. Jackson has been sidelined since Week 1 but has been slowly ramping up his level of activity in recent days in the hopes of playing.
Adding to the potential intrigue are the comments Jackson made in training camp, when the Redskins’ star said, “I don’t feel no one could stop me. You could go get Darrelle Revis, Richard Sherman, whoever you want to get.”
Revis was quoted in The New York Post this week as saying he admires Jackson’s game and hopes to play against him Sunday.
“That’s DeSean, man,” Revis said. “He’s very confident in his game and he should be. He led the league in most explosive plays last year. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He makes plays. He shows up on Sundays and does what he needs to do.”
Jackson and Revis have faced off twice in their careers. In 2011, Jackson, then a member of the Eagles, caught two passes for 28 yards against the Jets' Revis-led secondary. In 2013, Jackson hauled in six passes for 64 yards and a pair of touchdowns when Revis was playing for the Buccaneers.
With or without Jackson on Sunday, though, a player of Revis’ caliber will present a massive challenge for the Redskins’ passing attack. Receivers have got to find a way to get separation against him. And if they do, Kirk Cousins must deliver a perfectly thrown ball on time—and out of Revis’ reach. Revis has two interceptions this season; only five players have more.
“My only experience with him personally is in training camp last season when he was with the Patriots,” Cousins said, referring to Washington-New England joint practices in Richmond in 2014. “I haven't played him since I've been in the league in an actual game, but I would think he ranks right up there with anybody if not the best. He'll be a great challenge for us and he's certainly earned the respect that we give him.”
That said, Gruden said the Redskins don’t plan to totally avoid Revis Island.
“You don’t see a lot much major, major separation when he is in the game,” Gruden said. “But he’s been beat before. [We have to run] very good routes. We’ve got to be disciplined. We have got to be on time with the ball, very accurate. But we do have to take some shots if we can.”