Darrelle Revis Zone Coverage Watch: The Buccaneers don't appear to be changing

Al Messerschmidt

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to use Darrelle Revis in largely baffling ways.

Another week is in the books for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and once again Darrelle Revis appeared to be primarily zone coverage, this time against the Arizona Cardinals and Larry Fitzgerald.

Determining what coverage is being played is an inaccurate business and these are best guesses, not absolutes. Still, I had Darrelle Revis in zone coverage 20 times, in man coverage with a half-field safety behind him eleven times, in man coverage with a safety in centerfield seven times and in man coverage with no safety help six times. On two snaps I couldn't begin to guess what the coverage was.

That's basically the same proportion we had last week, with perhaps a few snaps more of man coverage. One thing did change, at least: Darrelle Revis followed Larry Fitzgerald across the field on most man coverage and some zone coverage snaps. That's a positive.

This defense continues to be extremely effective, so perhaps I shouldn't be complaining too much about the way the Buccaneers decide to use their personnel. After all, it appears to be working pretty well. Football Outsiders has them as the second-best defense in the NFL and the fourth-best pass defense. But then, my point has never been that the defense is bad -- just that paying Darrelle Revis $16 million per year to play in this scheme makes no sense.

Let me illustrate this with a few pictures. Rex Ryan used Darrelle Revis to create situations elsewhere on the field, by moving the safety help elsewhere. It worked very well, and it allowed him to be very creative with his blitzes without being bound by the necessity to have a safety on one side of the field -- something that every other cornerback does live with. This is essentially what that looks like.

Nyj-sd_q1-1_medium

Now compare that to the following seven plays the Bucs had against the Arizona Cardinals.


The difference should be pretty obvious. The Buccaneers on those seven snaps are doing basically the exact opposite of what you should be doing with Darrelle Revis. Maybe they're that scared of Larry Fitzgerald. Again, it did work -- one of those screenshots was Revis' interception. But this just isn't what you should be paying Revis $16 million per year for.

Maybe this is all because Revis is working his way back from injury, although he's looked fully healthy on the field and has not missed a single snap the past two games. Maybe they'll change this after the bye week. Regardless, it's just baffling to me that they continue to use their best defensive player in ways that don't maximize his talent.

Coverage Comp. Att. Yds. Sacks/penalties TD INT
Man 1 3 13 2 sacks 1 0
Man + center field safety 3 5 57

13-yard Defensive Pass Interference

0 0
Man + half-field safety 3 8 23 0 0 1
Zone 12 17 152 Intentional grounding, Offensive Pass Interference 0 1

In addition, there were two plays where I really couldn't determine the coverage.

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