I just got myself a damn snack (Gotta love Rex) and let's face it, we are all soaring high after the Jets Week 1 win over Buffalo (myself included). With that win coupled with the Steelers loss vs Denver, what adjustments should we make on both sides of the ball to keep the momentum going? Some things that concerned me about the Steelers was their 11-19 3rd down completion rate as well as the LONG drives that Roethlisberger was able to put together to keep the defense on the field. Some things that are salivating are the fact that if Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown or Emmanuel Sanders is coming across the middle, we now have safeties who can absolutely "lay the wood" in Yeremiah Bell and Laron Landry and we also have CB's and DB's who can keep with them stride for stride in Revis (if he plays) Antonio Cromartie, and Kyle Wilson. The way they read the eyes and jumped routes and were in position to make big defensive plays is a good thing. There's a couple things that we should be aware of if we are to indeed be victorious in Pittsburgh.
Steelers Offense vs Jets Defense
Given Pittsburgh's renewed commitment to the run and CJ Spiller's explosion for 169 yards against us, the Jets D definitely needs to be cognicant of the fact that the Steelers do have a semblance of a running game and need to plan accordingly to avoid having a duplicate Buffalo result as far as rushing yards allowed is concerned. New offensive coordinator Todd Haley's calling card is establishing the run and running the ball when they need short yardage but they only got 75 yards on 2.9 yards per carry. This is something Pittsburgh will want to improve on and if they get the run established, it sets up their play action which brings me to my next issue...
When Big Ben is flushed out of the pocket is when he causes the most damage especially given his ability to extend a play and make something from nothing and the fact that he is definitely not someone that you "arm tackle" given that he is the size of a moose and stubborn like a goat to effectively tackle. Some call it "chuck and luck" when he makes a big play from nothing but I call it an intangible that should definitely be accounted for when we run our various blitz packages especially when they run any type of play action which could spell disaster given the speedy receivers they have if they happen to get behind any of our CB's if they get wrapped up with trying to get to the QB. Another thing that was successful for Pittsburgh was when they ran the hurry-up offense and increased the tempo, it seemed to tire Denver's defense and had them "on the ropes". We definitely should prepare for the potential increased tempo and do anything we can to disrupt Big Ben's flow even if it means calling a timeout to get our bearings right.
Steelers Defense vs Jets Offense
You need to be aware of where Troy Polamalu is at ALL times. You could see the cat and mouse game that Denver's Offense had with Polamalu when they recognized a blitz they motioned a receiver in to block and audibled to a speed option left that resulted in a TD pass on one particular play. I say we have to insert a gadget/misdirection play or Wildcat play to counter if they show blitz especially in the Red Zone. When Polamalu was out deep in coverage, they ran a running play to exploit him not being there. We have a wrecking ball in Shonn Grenne who can pound away and get the "ugly" yards we need in order to wear down Pittsburgh. The Jets recognizing and going with "what look they give us" is important. Our O-Line was stout in containing Mario Williams and Company but will need to once again be that wall of protection especially if James Harrison plays. The fact that he is on the field limited or not does pose a problem if we allow it to be and the fact that Dick Lebeau (Steelers Defensive Coordinator) WILL live up to the Bltiz-burgh moniker especially being 0-1 and trying to avoid going 0-2 for the first time since 2002.
This will definitely be smashmouth, power football at its best and whoever can win the battle in the trenches and impose their will on the other will win this game. It will come down to key turnovers and a battle of field position. I have tempered my expectation in expecting 40+ points for Week 2. This is a winnable game and will show that the Jets are for real and not the "circus" that newspaper/media types have said that they are. This could be the game where the rest of the NFL is put on notice when it comes to our beloved NY Jets. See you in Pittsburgh......CAN'T WAIT!!!