The loss of cornerback Darrelle Revis may weaken the New York Jets defense a bit for their game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, but it also creates more headaches for 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman to try to figure out how the Jets will compensate.
Rex Ryan and his Jets defensive staff are known for the variety of looks they throw at an offense, and now they may be more unpredictable in terms of how they will alter things with Revis out.
"Yeah, that's just a tragedy," Romas said Thursday of Revis' season-ending injury. "Such a great player was befallen by injury and I'm sure they are going to adjust somehow. There's a lot of different ways they can do it and we might see all of them. A player of that magnitude allows you to do different things, isolate him. It's obvious on film, it's no secret that they would just lock him up on a guy and adjust elsewhere. Rob Peter to pay Paul, as they say. We just will be ready for anything. Rex and Mike [Pettine, Jets defensive coordinator] and that coaching staff are an outside-the-box type of staff, so we got to be ready for anything, no matter who's on the field."
Roman has worked with Ryan, so he knows how innovative he can be on the defensive side.
"This Jets defense forces our whole staff to stay up into the wee hours of the morning," Roman said. "Some really good coaches, great innovators, really changed defense in the NFL, forced offense to adjust. It's been happening for the past probably six or seven years. It's really given our offensive coaching staff a chance to bond early into the wee hours because one thing I can guarantee about the Jets defense is there's going to be 11 guys on the field. You never know where they're going to line up, but there's going to be 11 of them."
Frank Gore had just 12 carries while gaining 63 yards in the loss to the Vikings, but Roman did not declare that Gore would get more work against the Jets.
"You know we are always going to do what we think is best to win the game and every game's going to play out differently," he said. "In that particular game he got the amount of touches he got and this game could be completely different or not, we'll have to wait and see. It's game-by-game. I think we moved the ball pretty darn well. It was a limited possession game. We knew that, we talked about it at halftime and we just got to finish drives better. I'd say we moved the ball pretty well. We had a 13-play drive we had, a 12-play drive."
Historically, the Jets have been very good against the run under Ryan, and even though they have allowed more rushing yardage than usual this season, Roman still thinks they have the talent to be tough against the run.
"No question and I think they do," he said. "A lot of those runs were corralled pretty good and the back just made something happen. Some of those on paper you'd say, 'Wow that should never happen, really.' The New York Jets play run defense, if you go back, as good as anybody. If they want to load up on the run, they're going to get bodies down there. They're going to play the 46. I think Rex and the Jets in general, the players, they've got a great run defense."
The 49ers may have running back Brandon Jacobs back this week.
"He's definitely practicing right now and we'll have to wait and see."
San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio also has something new to consider -- the Tim Tebow package.
"Well you have to take it very serious," Fango said, "because they'll play him some in there and it's more like it gets back to the college type offense where there's the gun read, the quarterback runs where he fakes it and then keeps it and it's just a quarterback power. It's an everyday power, but it's with the 11th guy on the field not the 10th. So you do have to prepare for it."