By Tom James
INDIANAPOLIS — Reggie Wayne knows all about New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis. After all, he has already faced Revis in a regular-season game in the Indianapolis Colts’ next-to-last game of the regular season.
“It was an adventure on Revis Island, I guess,” Wayne joked Wednesday after being asked about his initial experience with the runner-up for the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
The Indianapolis Colts wide receiver had three catches for 33 yards in about three quarters of work. There were also a couple of plays where Wayne and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning failed to connect when they had opportunities. They, along with several other offensive and defensive starters, were pulled from the game with about five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
But heading into Sunday’s AFC Championship Game with the Jets, both Manning and Wayne know that they’ll have to make those plays count and not leave them out on the field.
“It was fun. One thing about Revis is he’s going to challenge you. He’s going to make you play your best. That’s all you can ask for. I accept that challenge. I feel like he’s one of the best [cornerbacks in the league]. He’s going to make me play at my best, so it’s going to be exciting,” Wayne said.
“Now, we’ve got a whole game to play each other. May the best man win.”
Revis had a team-leading six interceptions during the regular season while often covering the opposing team’s best receiver. Since the start of the postseason, he’s added two more interceptions.
“He [Revis] plays football. He understands the game. He understands [pass] routes. He understands combinations. That comes with just watching film and just understanding the game. It’s nothing out of the ordinary,” Wayne said.
“It’s just that he’s a student of the game and understands what’s going on and what’s coming at him. You have to put your best foot forward when you are playing against him or he’ll get the best of you.”
Manning is sure to be aware of Revis and where he lines up [and who he lines up against].
“I can’t tell you how it’s going to dictate [where he goes with the ball]. I can tell you he’s an excellent player and he’s had an excellent season. He’s made a lot of plays and has defended a lot of passes [this year]. He seems to find a way to get his hands on the ball,” the Colts quarterback said.
“You can tell [the Jets coaches and players] have a lot of confidence in him, as they should, because he’s a highly talented cover guy. How that affects where we throw the ball, I’ll probably have to wait until Sunday to tell you that.”
Caldwell aware of Revis — Colts coach Jim Caldwell knows all he wants to know about the Jets talented cornerback.
“He’s a great player. I’m not certain I’ve seen a corner play as well as he is right now. He’s special. He’s a guy that is a complete ball hawk with all the tools that you require to cover and cover well,” Caldwell said Wednesday.
“What he does for them is that he takes one receiver and tries to eliminate them from the offense. They can take everyone else and concentrate on the other available eligible receivers. It’s highly unusual. It doesn’t happen often. But he’s good enough to do it.”
Defense has made slight changes this year — Middle linebacker Gary Brackett says that the Colts haven’t made wholesale changes to the team’s defensive philosophy since Larry Coyer took over as coordinator. There have been more than a few tweaks though.
“I just think we have more coverages. We open up to how we do things. Before, we had about three or four coverages we draw on. Now it’s anywhere from eight to 10 depending on the game plan,” Brackett explained.
“[Coyer] has done a great job of bringing us up to speed in terms of putting different things in, giving our offense a different look. We’re not the same scheme down-in and down-out. I think he has done a good job of mixing it up.”
Defensive end Dwight Freeney agrees.
“I think the defense is a lot different. We are more of an attacking style of defense. We go out there and attack pretty much every time we play no matter what it is — run or pass. In times past, we would sit back. We wouldn’t really dictate to anybody. [Opposing teams] would dictate to us,” Freeney said.
“Now we can go out and dictate to them and they have to adjust based on what we do. I think as a defensive player, you always want to be in attack mode, aggressive mode. Go after whoever or whatever the play is. I think that definitely helps. But I think we do a good job of mixing it up.”
Buddy Ball coming to Lucas Oil Stadium — Former Philadelphia Eagles and Arizona Cardinals head coach Buddy Ryan is expected to make an appearance at Sunday’s game. The elder Ryan will be on hand to watch his oldest son, Rex, coach the Jets against Indianapolis.
Buddy Ryan has a horse farm in Kentucky, so it’s expected to be a relatively easy trip north. He began his NFL coaching career as a linebackers coach for the Jets in 1968 and was on the sidelines when New York upset a highly favored Colts team in Super Bowl III.
Injury list — Rookie cornerback Jerraud Powers (foot) was the only Colts player not to take part in Wednesday’s workout.
Tight end Dallas Clark had limited work due to illness while safety Antoine Bethea (back) also saw limited practice time.
The rest of the team’s injury list included running back Joseph Addai (shoulder), defensive end Ervin Baldwin (shin), middle linebacker Gary Brackett (calf), safety Melvin Bullitt (shoulder), offensive tackle Ryan Diem (elbow), defensive end Dwight Freeney (foot), rookie linebacker Cody Glenn (back), defensive tackle Antonio Johnson (shoulder), offensive tackle Charlie Johnson (foot), defensive end Robert Mathis (knee), offensive guard Jamey Richard (shoulder), tight end Jacob Tamme (ankle), offensive tackle Tony Ugoh (knee), placekicker Adam Vinatieri (right hip) and wide receiver Reggie Wayne (knee).
Sitting out for the Jets Wednesday were defensive end Shaun Ellis (hand/knee), running back Thomas Jones (not injury related) and running back Tony Richardson (rib). Linebacker David Harris (ankle) and linebacker Bart Scott (ankle) both saw limited work. Quarterback Mark Sanchez (knee) and wide receiver Danny Woodhead (knee) both practiced.