FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Darrelle Revis got angry as he watched Brandon Marshall make catch after catch against the New York Jets.
While his team was in Miami playing the Dolphins last Sunday night, the All-Pro cornerback was back home in New Jersey unable to do anything to help.
"I was kind of upset at myself for being hurt," Revis said Thursday. "And, that I couldn't be a part of that win and be a part of covering Brandon if I was out there."
Life without Revis has been just as difficult on the Jets' defense. Revis strained his left hamstring in the first half against New England in Week 2, missed last week's game and coach Rex Ryan announced the cornerback will stay behind again when the team travels to Buffalo.
Tempering the disappointment is the fact the Jets have won both games in which Revis has missed time.
"Either way, I couldn't be out there," Revis said. "If I was out there right now, I'd be hurting the team. I just need to be 100 percent, to where my body can function right out there and I can go back to trying to be the player I've always been."
The Jets certainly can't wait to get him back to stabilize their secondary, but they are being cautious with perhaps their best all-around player. Revis is hopeful he'll be able to play against Minnesota on Monday Night Football in Week 5.
"As bad as we want him to play, we want him to play for the whole season, as much of the season as we possibly can," Ryan said. "If he plays this game and then reinjures it, now we lose him for another six games or something like that. That would be devastating to our team."
Antonio Cromartie has stepped into Revis' spot at left cornerback and been OK at times, and shaky at others. Marshall had eight of his 10 catches while going up against Cromartie last Sunday. Meanwhile, rookie Kyle Wilson has struggled and it appears he'll be replaced by veteran Drew Coleman in the starting lineup.
Wilson would then be able to concentrate on playing in nickel packages, as was originally the plan when they drafted the former Boise State star in the first round.
"You've got to make the plays," Wilson said. "I didn't make them."
Wilson has been picked on throughout the Jets' first three games, and has struggled mightily at times. He was called for a 27-yard pass interference penalty that helped set up the Dolphins' first touchdown.
"Obviously I would have loved to make some more plays," he said. "I just have to look back and learn from it and become a smarter player, looking back at it and envision myself making those plays in the future."
Ryan and defensive coordinator have not lost confidence in Wilson, but think Coleman has earned an opportunity to start — or at least have some significant playing time in Revis' absence. Coleman had the victory-sealing interception against the Dolphins.
"I left a lot of plays out on the field," Coleman said of his performance against Miami. "I guess I was pleased with it, but there is a lot of work we have to do as a whole. I think I played OK, but there's a lot of work we still have to do."
That's clear from the 824 yards passing the secondary has given up, as well as the 20th overall ranking — including 27th against the pass. The Jets are also second-to-last in stopping opponents on third down.
"It's an area of concern," Pettine said. "Getting off the field on third down has always been our trademark."
Ryan has blamed the poor performance in the secondary on a breakdown in communication, with three new players — Cromartie, Wilson and Brodney Pool — learning to play with each other. Defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman challenged his squad Wednesday to improve quickly.
"Bet against us," Ryan said. "See if we're going to finish 20th in the league. Bet against us if we're going to be 31st or 32nd on third down. I have a funny feeling that number will be first in the league. I'm sure that defense will be first or second. I've been there."
Ryan and Pettine have acknowledged that having a player the caliber of Revis in the secondary allows them to take full advantage of their aggressive defense up front. The lack of full-out blitzes has been another casualty of Revis being sidelined as the Jets have only five sacks this season — a reason they signed Trevor Pryce on Thursday.
"You take the best corner in football off the field, there's going to be a dropoff to the next guy," Pettine said. "It's changed some things we've been able to do, but we've got to get it done without him.