Targeting Dee MillinerSeptember 6th, 2013
The Jets may or may not test Darrelle Revis, but the Bucs surely will be coming after the guy who replaced him on the Jets.
In some ways, the Jets traded Revis to the Bucs for rookie cornerback Dee Milliner out of Alabama and a third-round pick.
Milliner is who the Jets snagged in the draft with their 2013 first-round pick after sending Revis to Tampa Bay and before they grabbed DT Sheldon Richardson with the 13th overall pick they got from the Bucs. The Jets replaced one stud corner for a guy they think can be another — and he earns about $13 million less per year than Revis.
Milliner, of course, has loads to prove. The Jets, via The Star Ledger, were open yesterday about expecting Josh Freeman to target Milliner all day long on Sunday.
Despite a long recovery from a torn knee ligament, Revis commands immense respect. The Jets feel Milliner, the No. 9 pick in this year’s draft, can one day be viewed with such esteem. For now, though, there is a different expectation.
“Are we expecting them to throw balls his way? We sure are.” Dennis Thurman, the Jets defensive coordinator said. “We’re expecting him to make his share of plays as well.”
Expectations in the NFL, Thurman said, provide a scale by which players can be judged, and inform game plans, as well.
“If you’re not successful, they’re going to come back at you until you are successful,” Thurman said. “That’s the nature of the beast in this league. We’ll see if he’s up for the task. If he is, he’ll go out there and perform. That’s what we expect him to do.”
Despite missing the Jets’ final two preseason games with an Achilles injury, Milliner will start Sunday. He has practiced fully this week.
So Milliner’s coming off an injury and will be flanking experienced, athletic Mike Williams. That’s a mismatch in the Bucs’ favor, as Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie matches up with Vincent Jackson.
Josh Freeman’s familiarity with the Bucs’ offense and nearly 200 career connections with Williams should translate into some huge chunks of yardage.