Thursday, September 13, 2012

This article has been read 0 times - Washington Observer Reporter

PITTSBURGH â€" The Steelers’ wide receivers aren’t sure who will end up on what New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan calls “Revis Island,” but they aren’t afraid of ending up like the castaways on Gilligan’s Island â€" lost during a threehour tour â€" either.

Because the Jets have so much confidence in the ability of their cornerbacks, most notably All-Pro Darrelle Revis, they play more bump-and-run, man-to-man coverage than perhaps any team in the NFL.

The Steelers’ receivers are looking forward to the challenge of not only facing Revis, but Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson.

Pittsburgh (0-1) hosts the Jets (1-0) Sunday at Heinz Field.

“We always look forward to somebody coming down and getting in your face,” said Steelers receiver Mike Wallace, also an All-Pro selection. “It’s man versus man. Any time you can get that, it’s an opportunity to go out and show what you can do.” What the Steelers can do is diversify, perhaps as well as any team in the NFL.

Four different players caught at least four passes for more than 50 yards Sunday in a 30-19 loss at Denver. Though the Steelers lost that game, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s ability to spread the wealth caught the eye of Ryan.

“Their group is explosive. Their speed is incredible,” said Ryan. “I think Antonio Brown is one of the most underrated players in the league. He made the Pro Bowl last year as a returner, but he is the only guy in NFL history to have 1,000 yards as a returner and in the same season have 1,000 yards as a receiver. That tells you what kind of athlete he is. Then, they have Mike Wallace, who can blow the top off of a defense. Those two are impressive. Emmanuel Sanders doesn’t get as much attention as the other two, but he is a tremendous receiver in his own right.”

Ryan should know.

Though the Steelers didn’t play the Jets last year, they met twice during the 2010 season with New York winning, 22-17, in the regular season and the Steelers winning the rematch, 24-19 in the AFC Championship game.

Wallace, Sanders and Brown combined for 17 receptions for 195 yards in the first game. That number dropped to three catches for 40 yards in the rematch as the Steelers attempted only 19 passes on a cold January day.

Ryan knows the difficulty of matching up against Pittsburgh’s receivers, but he trusts the ability of his cornerbacks.

“We are fortunate that we have some great man-cover cornerbacks,” Ryan said. “A lot of times we don’t double team. A lot of times we will put our guys out there on their islands, especially Darrelle Revis. Certainly, we have to mix things up with the Steelers. Their two receivers (Brown and Wallace) are explosive guys. Then you add Sanders, which makes it difficult. And they have Jerricho Cotchery. I have a ton of admiration for him. He is a tremendous receiver as well.”

The Steelers have their share of admiration for the Jets’ defensive backfield, though there is some question as to whether Revis, a former Pitt star and Aliquippa native, will play this week after suffering a concussion in New York’s 48-28 win last week against Buffalo.

Ryan said Revis hasn’t been cleared for contact, but is able to do some running.

“Revis gets a lot of the talk, and deservedly so. He’s one of the best,” said Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. “But I think it’s unfair to the rest of that secondary, especially Antonio Cromartie. He’s a great, long DB and ball hawker that makes plays. I don’t know if he gets the credit that he is due. A lot of it is because of “Revis Island” and all of the stuff they say and it is deserved. Their whole secondary is very good.”

Odds and end zones

New York’s win at Heinz Field in 2010 is the Jets’ lone win in Pittsburgh in nine games. ... Linebackers James Harrison (knee) and Stevenson Sylvester (knee), safety Troy Polamalu (calf) and running back Jonathan Dwyer (foot) did not practice Wednesday. ... Defensive end Ziggy Hood (back) was limited.

No comments:

Post a Comment