Is Darrelle Revis better now than during his first stint with the Jets?

After stops in Tampa and Foxboro that spanned two years, All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis is back with the team that drafted him. And although he’s 29 with less tread on his tires now, Revis believes he’s better than he was earlier in his career with the New York Jets.

“You know what? I think I’m better than I was before, when I played earlier in my career,” Revis said this week, via NJ.com. “I think I’m more way more intelligent in the position. I had a great learning experience last year with Bill. He helped me in a lot of ways. I’ve seen the game a different way. But at the same time I think just the growth, of me growing as a player, and growing as a man has helped me tremendously. Now I’m a different type of player — a better player — than I was when I was younger.”

Is that possible? Revis was an absolute stud between 2009 and 2011, earning first-team All-Pro honors in all three seasons with Gang Green. He then tore his ACL as a 27-year-old in 2012 and was out the door the following offseason. He made it back to the Pro Bowl with Tampa Bay in 2013 but didn’t appear to be as strong as usual.

However, it was an All-Pro, Super Bowl 2014 campaign in New England that gave Revis a shot at comparing to his former self.

In terms of advanced stats from Pro Football Focus, Revis’ grade for 2014 (including playoffs) was 19.6, ranking fourth in the NFL. On a per-game basis, that’s 1.03, which pales in comparison to the 1.45 per-game PFF grade average he put together between 2009 and 2011. In both ’09 and ’11, he was graded as the best cornerback in the NFL.

But it was Revis’ play during the second half of the season with the Patriots, and on that Super Bowl run, that has me thinking he has a point. He wasn’t particularly good the first seven weeks of the season, but from Week 8 on Revis posted a PFF grade of 15.5, averaging out of 1.72 per game. Only Chris Harris of the Broncos fared better.

During that stretch, opposing quarterbacks completed just 46 percent of the passes thrown his way for 5.8 yards per attempt. And he gave up only three touchdowns, but two came in the playoffs. In fact, Revis surrendered just two touchdowns in 16 games during the regular season.

Still, that doesn’t come close to 2009-2011, when Revis was beat only 34 percent of the time for 4.4 yards per attempt. And during that stretch, he gave up only six touchdowns in 51 regular-season and playoff starts.

So while Revis believes he’s better now than he was during the heart of his first stint with the Jets, the numbers still indicate otherwise.

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com, a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at CBSSports.com, Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Comeback Media, but his day gig has him covering the NFL nationally for Bleacher Report.

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