New York Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill is a rookie from Georgia Tech. Former Yellow Jackets have presented the Steelers with problems of late.
Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 8:56 pm | Updated: 9:07 pm, Tue Sep 11, 2012.
By Mike Bires firstname.lastname@example.org
PITTSBURGH – It was a record-setting Week 1 in the NFL as five teams made history by scoring 40 points or more. Leading the way were the high octane New York Jets, who put up 48 with touchdowns from their offense, defense and special teams.
That’s the most points the Jets had scored since September of 2008 when Eric Mangini was coach and Brett Favre the quarterback.
On Sunday, the Jets will be at Heinz Field playing against the Steelers, who gave up 31 points to Peyton Manning and the Broncos in their season opener.
Here’s a scouting report on the Jets, who won with ease at home this past Sunday, 48-28 over the Buffalo Bills.
Big news during the off-season was the acquisition of Tim Tebow, the quarterback who ended the Steelers’ playoff hopes last year. But Tebow hardly played against the Bills (he was on the field for 12 plays, eight as a Wildcat QB, one at tight end and three on special teams). The Jets didn’t need him.
Mark Sanchez, the fifth overall pick of the 2009 draft, enjoyed one of his finest performances as a pro. Sanchez completed 19 of 27 for 266 yards, three TDs and an interception. His 123.4 passer rating was the second-best of his career.
“More than anything over the course of the last couple of years, he’s probably improving at becoming a mature player and a leader, which most quarterbacks do with time,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.
On the receiving end of two of Sanchez’s TD passes was rookie wide receiver Stephen Hills, a second-round draft pick out of Georgia Tech.
“We’re somewhat allergic to wide receivers out of Georgia Tech,” Tomlin said.
In their last two games, the 29-23 wild-card loss in Denver included, the Steelers were victimized by Demaryius Thomas, a former Yellow Jacket who has combined for nine catches for 314 yards and two TDs.
The Jets' other starting wideout is ex-Steeler Santonio Holmes.
When the Jets run the ball, their workhorse is Shonn Greene, a 1,054-yard rusher last year who carried 17 times for 94 yards and a TD against the Bills.
Up front, the Jets’ best two players are four-time Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold and three-time Pro Bowl left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson.
There isn’t a team in the league with a better cornerbacks than the Jets.
“You talk about their strong cover people,” Tomlin said. “Darrelle Revis is an obvious example. He’s the best in the world at what he does. Antonio Cromartie is their other (starting) cornerback. He had a pick-six last week. He’s a top notch, veteran professional. He is a very good cover man. In the slot they have Kyle Wilson, a first-round pick out of Boise State University a few years ago. He had an interception also in last week’s game. He is becoming a very experienced nickel-back corner.
“Those three guys are first-round pedigree-type guys. They are capable of covering people and playing bump-and-run. They provide a lot of opportunities for their defense to do a lot of things by their capability to cover people in a bump-and-run fashion.” Revis, an Aliquippa native who played at Pitt, suffered a mild concussion Sunday after against the Bills but is expected to play Sunday.
The most notorious defender in the Jets’ front seven is inside line backer Bart Scott, who spent the first seven years of his pro career with the Ravens. In a 2006 game in Baltimore, Scott sacked Ben Roethlisberger with a ferocious blind-side tackle that the Steelers' QB still says is one of the hardest hits he's ever taken.
The Jets have two promising defensive linemen in their base 3-4 alignment. Muhammad Wilkerson, a first-round pick in last year’s draft, and Quinton Coples, a first-round pick this year, are listed Nos. 1 and 2 at left D-end.
Since the 1970 NFL/AFL merger, the Jets have struggled when playing in Pittsburgh. They are a combined 1-8 in games at Three Rivers Stadium and Heinz Field. Their only win was on Dec. 19, 2010, a 22-17 victory jumpstarted when Brad Smith returned the opening kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.
Surely Tomlin hasn’t forgotten that play. And he’s well aware that the Jets scored a special teams TD this past Sunday against the Bills. Wide receiver Jeremy Kerley returned a punt 68 yards to give the Jets a 21-0 lead.
QUOTING REX RYAN
Here's what Ryan, who's in his fourth season as Jets coach, had to say about the perceived "circus" atmosphere that surrounds his team: "Our opponents will take us seriously. I promise you that."