We’ve handed Green Bay Packers’ cornerback Charles Woodson the defensive player of the year award already, but noted that his strongest competition is likely to come from New York Jets’ cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Well, after the last two weeks, it appears the race isn’t quite over, and in fact, is probably closer than we imagine.
Although Woodson has been stout over the past two weeks, but he hasn’t made the plays we’ve been accustomed to. Woodson has totaled 13 tackles over the two games, has been his usual solid self against the run and has shut down the opponent’s top receiver, but hasn’t caused a turnover or come up with a sack – the impact numbers that get voter’s attention. On top of that, the Jets’ defense has distanced itself from the Packers as the No. 1 unit in football, thanks largely to a defensive struggle with Atlanta and the Colts pulling their starters on Sunday, while the Packers were torched by the Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago.
Fortunately, the vote isn’t likely to come down to team defensive prowess, and Woodson still has better overall numbers than Revis:
Woodson: 74 tackles, 8 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles, 2 sacks, 2 touchdowns
Revis: 54 tackles, 6 interceptions, 0 forced fumbles, 0 sacks, 1 touchdown
Still, something the usually long-winded Peter King wrote caught my eye.
In average yards allowed to top receivers, the Jets lead the league by a wide margin at 30.5 yards per game — and that’s almost always been Revis’ man. Washington (43.6), San Diego (44.5), Philadelphia (45.5) and Green Bay (48.5) follow. In average yards-after-the-catch, the Jets are first, at 2.6 yards, followed by Indy (2.9), Philadelphia (3.1), Denver (3.1) and Cincinnati (3.2). Woodson is second in cornerback run tackles with 35, while Revis is eighth with 20.
It’ll probably be a close vote, but I’m leaning toward Revis. He’s been matched against Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, Marques Colston, Steve Smith, Roddy White and Reggie Wayne a total of seven times, and he hasn’t allowed a 70-yard game. He’s been the definition of shutdown corner. He combines wily coverage with a physical presence, and, at 24, there’s not a young defensive player in football I’d take over him.
Of course, that logic overlooks the fact that Woodson has played several positions on the Packers’ defense. It overlooks the fact that he’s been asked to shut down, and been successful, against some of the best tight ends in the league – Jason Witten and Vernon Davis to name two.
It also overlooks the fact that Woodson is far superior against the run, and that he’s made plays in every aspect of the game, which the forced fumble and sack numbers show.
However, if King thinks Revis is the guy and is pitching him as such, then there are likely a good amount of voters who will follow suit.
It would be a travesty if Woodson didn’t win the award, but he may very well need a big game against the Arizona Cardinals this week to pull it out.