Jets-Bolts matchup to feature Jackson vs. Revis
SAN DIEGO – The most intriguing matchup of Sunday’s playoff game between New York and red-hot San Diego is going to be 6-foot-5 Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson against the Jets’ Darrelle Revis.
Jackson is 6-foot-5 and caught 79 passes for 1,157 yards. Revis has become the league’s premier cornerback.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Jackson said Wednesday. “It’s going to be a competitive matchup and it’s going to be fun. Who knows what they’re going to do. We don’t know what they’re going to do coming out defensively. But obviously they’ve been sound all the way around, and we’re going to have to just spread the ball around.”
That, the Chargers can do.
“That will be certainly a matchup worth paying attention to, but we’ll be focused on finding ways to get the ball in the end zone,” said Pro Bowl quarterback Philip Rivers.
In other words, Rivers has plenty of other options besides Jackson.
Rivers has two other tall targets to throw to, Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates and wideout Malcom Floyd, who also is 6-5.
Although San Diego’s running game isn’t as powerful as the Jets’ top-ranked rushing game, LaDainian Tomlinson is healthy going into the playoffs, unlike last year when he was slowed and then sidelined by a serious groin injury.
What makes the Jackson-Revis matchup stand out, besides the skill level of the players involved, is the height disparity. Jackson is six inches taller than Revis.
Jackson doesn’t necessarily think he has an advantage.
“That seems to be the big thing about us, but there’s probably maybe one out of every 20 catches that we have that are really jump balls,” Jackson said. “All our routes are based on separation from the cornerback, timing of the quarterback and maybe sometimes down the field there might be a jump ball, but honestly, I can’t think of too many situations where it’s just me going up over guys.
“We create separation just like any other sized receivers.”
Revis had six interceptions this season, including one he returned for a touchdown.
“I don’t like the term ‘shutdown corner’ because I think that’s hard to define and it gets thrown around pretty loosely, but I think I might use that term with Revis,” Chargers coach Norv Turner said. “He is awfully impressive on tape. He just goes after it and he plays every play like this game is meant to be played. He’s very impressive.”
Tomlinson has had a reduced role this year, finishing with a career-low 730 yards. A lot of it has been due to the Chargers relying more on their high-octane passing game, plus L.T. missed two games with a sprained ankle.
“You prepare yourself for something and you accept it,” Tomlinson said of his reduced role. “This train was going one way, and I wasn’t going to be the guy to hold it up. I’ve never been that type of guy. I accept my role on this team and I play the best I can.
“We have won all year long. People really haven’t really focused on the run game. It’s been our dynamic passing game. Rightfully so. Who knows what’s going to happen?”