The news has come in on cornerback Darrelle Revis' knee and it is the worst case scenario for the Jets.
Rex Ryan announced Monday that Revis has torn his anterior cruciate ligament and that he needs surgery to repair the injury. Ryan stopped short of saying that Revis would be placed on season-ending injured reserve, but there doesn't seem to be much chance that we're going to be seeing him shutting down one half of the field again in 2012.
That's really bad news for the Jets defense, which draws most of its potency from Revis' ability to control his game without much help from the other 10 defenders. Opposing quarterbacks treated Revis' side of the field the way that vegans treat bacon and that made it so much easier for the rest of the defense to get its job done every week.
Now, though, the team will have to rely on Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson on the corners. Cromartie has his moments, but he also gives up plenty of big plays (Brian Hartline's 41-yard catch to set up Dan Carpenter's missed field goal in overtime, for example) and draws a fair number of flags.
He's still miles better than Wilson, who hasn't gotten any better at playing balls in the air in his third year as an NFL cornerback. Wilson got flagged for a key penalty on Sunday because he has no idea how to react when the ball is thrown in his direction and that's the sort of thing offensive coordinators who don't work for the Jets tend to pick up during film study.
It would be less scary to face life without Revis if the Jets were creating any kind of consistent pass rush this season. They've got just three sacks in three games and there have been few other moments where a quarterback is making a throw under any kind of serious duress.
Time in the pocket undoes the best of defensive backs. The Jets no longer have the best of defensive backs in the lineup, so you can imagine what it will do to the ones that they do have on hand.
This is a moment where the whole "Next Man Up" thing falls flat because there is no next man, just as the Giants would be lost without Eli Manning or Jason Pierre-Paul. Revis is too important to what the Jets do to just be replaced without radically changing other parts of the defensive approach.
Ryan's ability to scheme defensively keeps some hope alive that this doesn't mean really dark times for the rest of the season, but things are definitely bleak. With that offense and a Revis-less defense, it's hard to see what the Jets can point to as serious strengths the rest of the way.