Rex Ryan confident, even without Revis

Updated: August 31, 2010, 8:53 AM ET
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets agreed not to say anything publicly on the Darrelle Revis contract dispute, but coach Rex Ryan said plenty on Monday, delivering a not-so-subtle message to the Revis camp.

Ryan didn't mention Revis by name, but when asked if they still can have a great defense without Revis and outside linebacker Calvin Pace (broken foot), the coach made like LaDainian Tomlinson: He ran with it.

[+] EnlargeKyle Wilson
Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesWith Revis out, rookie Kyle Wilson will start for the Jets.

"We can get it done," Ryan said. "We've proved it all through the years. That's all I know is great defenses. That's what we stand for. It's not about one guy or one or two guys. ... This is what we do. We're a team defense. That's why I know our defense will play great. There's not a question in my mind that we'll play great. We play great team defense."

Monday is Day 30 of the Revis holdout and, based on Ryan's comments, the Jets have no intention of blinking first in the standoff. They appear to be approaching the season as if they don't expect to have their All-Pro cornerback in the season opener, Sept. 13 against the Baltimore Ravens.

For example: Rookie Kyle Wilson, who has replaced Revis in the starting lineup, won't face the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night in the final preseason game. Ryan is resting his starters (only 36 players will be available), but it's still unusual for a rookie to receive the veteran treatment.

The other rookies, and a couple selected veterans (namely starting left guard Matt Slauson), are expected to play. Obviously, they don't want to take any chances with Wilson, an every-down player in Revis' absence.

At the same time, Revis appears to be just as entrenched as the Jets. He has two offers sitting on the table (10 years, $122 million and four years, $40 million), neither of which is appealing to him. In the long-term deal, there's no specific amount of fully guaranteed money -- and Revis is seeking about $30 million. The latter offer includes only about $5 million in first-year pay.

Time is becoming a major factor. In 10 days, the Jets will have their first full practice for the Ravens. And where's Revis? That's anybody's guess. Reports out of Western Pennsylvania say he has been spotted in his hometown, Aliquippa, working out at a local high school.

Revis is receiving advice from his uncle, former NFL defensive lineman Sean Gilbert, and that may not bode well for a settlement, according to people familiar with the situation.

As a member of the Washington Redskins, Gilbert sat out the entire 1997 season, refusing to accept the Redskins' offer. Gilbert was seeking $4 million a year, and never lowered his demand, showing no willingness to compromise, one person said.

Revis seems to be following that pattern. His agents proposed a 10-year, $162 million contract, consistent with their demands from the outset of negotiations. Revis wants to be the highest-paid cornerback in the NFL, a distinction that currently belongs to the Oakland Raiders' Nnamdi Asomugha. He averages $15.1 million per year, with $28.6 million guaranteed.

There's pressure on the Jets because they open the season against two likely playoff teams, the Ravens and New England Patriots -- both at home. An 0-2 start could damage their Super Bowl aspirations, but Ryan doesn't seem concerned. He's either ultra-confident or a great actor.

"I guess history is part of it," he said.

In four seasons as the Ravens' defensive coordinator and one as the Jets' coach, Ryan's defenses have finished fifth, first, sixth, second and first in yards allowed, respectively. A year ago, the Jets didn't have Pace and defensive end Shaun Ellis (both suspended) for the season opener and beat the Houston Texans, 24-7. They played the last 10 games without their top run defender, nose tackle Kris Jenkins.

"We'll get it done," Ryan said.

In two weeks, if Revis still is AWOL, we'll find out.

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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