2 Things to Watch For: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New York Jets
Darrelle Revis will travel to Metlife Stadium for a homecoming as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the New York Jets. Metlife Stadium will be emotional on Sunday, as the Jets’ fan base will see fan-favorite Revis sporting a Bucs uniform.
Revis had been a member of the Jets since 2007. However, prior to the 2013 NFL Draft, the Jets traded Revis to the Bucs. He will be playing his first ever game against the Jets on Sunday.
Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan is entering a contract year as he faces a lot of criticism. He has made many questionable calls and decisions during his four-year stint with the team.
Bucs’ head coach Greg Schiano is hoping that he can improve on the team’s 7-9 record from last season. They had a great offseason, highlighted by the pre-draft acquisition of Revis. They appear to be heading in the right direction to challenge the Atlanta Falcons for the NFC South Division Title.
Las Vegas Betting Odds have listed the Bucs as three-point favorites for their 1 p.m. week one matchup against the Jets. No matter who wins or loses, there are two primary things to watch for in this highly-anticipated matchup.
1. Rookie quarterback Geno Smith is expected to make his first NFL start for the Jets.
The Jets decided to draft West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith in the second round of April’s Draft, which was expected due to the incumbent quarterback’s struggles the past few years. A shoulder injury to Mark Sanchez has Smith appearing to be the week one starter against the Bucs.
Smith had a great senior year for West Virginia. He totaled 42 touchdowns, only six interceptions and 4,205 yards. Succeeding the Jets’ drafting Smith, there was immediate speculation that he would be the team’s starting quarterback for the upcoming season.
Ryan announced that it would be an open competition for the starting quarterback job following the Draft. Ryan has not named his week one starter yet, despite Sanchez dealing with a shoulder injury.
However, according to Rich Cimini of ESPN.com, the Jets are expected to name Smith as their week one starting quarterback when they face the Bucs.
Last season, Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III had the best week one performance among rookie quarterbacks when he passed for 320 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions in a 40-32 win over the New Orleans Saints. RG III had been named the unquestioned starting quarterback prior to week one, unlike Smith.
In the ongoing quarterback competition, Smith might end up starting week one just because Sanchez is hurt. Smith has to try to have a RG III-like performance in order to prove to Ryan that he is the team’s best quarterback.
2. Darrelle Revis’ Homecoming.
The Bucs’ acquisition of Revis from the Jets was considered by NFL experts to be a high-risk, high-reward move. Revis can show the Jets and the NFL that he is back to his vintage self by having a dominant week one performance against his former team.
NFL experts have considered Revis to be one of the best cornerbacks since the Jets drafted him in 2007. Prior to last season, Jets owner Woody Johnson had been hesitant to make Revis one of the highest-paid players in the NFL. Revis’ torn ACL in week two of last season made that decision much easier for Johnson. He pressured newly hired general manager John Idzik to trade Revis because Johnson believed that Revis did not deserve such a high salary.
This led to the trade with the Bucs.
Revis has spent this offseason recovering from the torn ACL and he is expected to start week one against the Jets. Following the trade, he did a bold move by signing a contract that had no guaranteed money. This shows that he is determined to prove his critics wrong.
Revis can show that “Revis Island” is back by being so dominant that Smith would be hesitant to throw the football near him on Sunday. The Bucs’ pass defense ranked last in the NFL last season, so it will be interesting to see how much better it is in week one with Revis in the secondary.