COMMENTARY | They showed him the money. Will he prove he's worth it?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Darrelle Revis to a $96 million contract this offseason, making him the highest-paid defensive back in NFL history. His presence is a huge upgrade to a secondary which allowed a league-high 297 passing yards a game in 2012. But will Revis give Tampa Bay a return on its investment? Is he as healthy as he claims to be?
To prove himself, he must show three things in Week 1 vs. the New York Jets:
He must stay healthy -- Revis hasn't played in a game since he tore his ACL Week 2 of last season. Tampa Bay's front office decided to play it safe and not test his injured knee in the preseason, so it's likely Revis will deal with some rust and fatigue against the Jets. He's practiced with the Bucs, but hasn't gotten a feel for real game speed yet.
It will be important for Revis to stretch out that knee and cut on it cleanly in the game. The last thing Tampa Bay wants to see is its prized acquisition hurt again.
He must show he's back to 100 percent -- "Revis Island" has relocated to Tampa Bay. The question is, can he return to being a feared defensive back, or will he never be the same player again? The first step to answering that question begins versus the Jets.
He figures to be matched up against Santonio Holmes, assuming he's healthy enough to play. If not, he will likely be paired up with Stephen Hill, a burner with good size, who'll present a good challenge to test Revis down the field. Jets' coach Rex Ryan knows Revis and what he's capable of. However, he's also just cocky enough to call for a long pass in Revis' direction early in the game.
Revis needs to perform like the Pro-Bowl player the Buccaneers paid him to be, and show the league that he is fully recovered from offseason surgery.
He must stop the run -- Bucs' coach Greg Schiano has preached stopping the run from day one. The Bucs were the best in the league at it in 2012. The league and its fans will be watching to see if Revis' knee can hold up against the pass. But, how will his knee react to the contact from tackling big backs Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory?
Revis needs to show he can still come down into the path of an oncoming rusher and make a tackle in the open field. The NFL is a passing league and Revis was brought to Tampa Bay to stop the pass. However, on Greg Schiano's team, you've got to stop the run too.
Revis has waited all offseason for payback against the team that gave up on him -- The New York Jets. Will he make them look silly for trading him, or will he disappoint in his first game back Sunday at MetLife Stadium?
More by James LoPresti from Yahoo Contributor Network:
James LoPresti (@JLoPresti3114 on Twitter) has more than eight years experience working in the news industry. He has been published in the Tampa Tribune and currently writes fantasy football analysis for The Draft Report.
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- Darrelle Revis
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- New York Jets