Yesterday a rumor arose around the NFL world, saying that the Patriots were interested in prying Darrelle Revis away from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio originally reported this, which immediately sent ‘Patriot Nation’ into a frenzy. The top priority for the Pats as of right now, is probably re-signing Aqib Talib. But what if New England could get a better version of Talib? Revis is not where he used to be in terms of lock-down coverage, but other than maybe Richard Sherman, there isn’t a better man coverage guy in the NFL.
Here are some side by side stat comparisons between Talib, and Revis:
The two major things that pop out to me when going through these numbers, are the games played, and the interceptions. Revis came into the league one year before Talib did, but he also missed the majority of the 2012 season with a knee injury. But even with that lost season, Revis has played in 18 more games than Talib. Staying healthy is probably the biggest concern teams around the league have with Talib, because it doesn’t matter how talented you are, if you can’t stay on the field, that talent is useless.
As for the interceptions, Talib may have better ball skills than Revis, but that is because up until last year, nobody threw at Revis. His ability to simply take a receiver out of the game is Deion Sanders-like, which forces opposing quarterbacks to go somewhere else. Now, his 2013 season in Tampa was a little bit different. First off, he was still trying to recover from a major knee surgery he went under the year before, and not everybody can recover like Adrian Peterson can. The second thing is the scheme Tampa used. I didn’t get the chance to watch a ton of tape on Revis, but from what I did see, it seemed like his coaches used him in a zone far too often. If you want to maximize the talent of a Darrelle Revis, you must use him in press man coverage.
When it is all said and done, I doubt Revis ends up in New England. It would take a lot for Bill Belichick and company to get him away from the Bucs, and the Pats just don’t have enough money/assets to get him away from Tampa. But if this scenario did unfold, I think it is obvious that the Patriots would be getting one hell of a player. With that said, retaining Aqib Talib is a fine consolation prize. When healthy, I think he is the third best cover corner in the game, behind Sherman, and Revis.