November 16, 2007

Beware The Mangina...I Mean Mangenius...

1-8 or not, the New York Jets are not to be taken lightly. While they have not found much success this season, it's not like they're getting blown out or anything...at least not by anyone not named Bill Belichick1. So there's absolutely no reason why they can't turn that frown upside down against the league's #1 defense2 and Big Ben Godsend come Sunday. I sort of get the feeling this isn't the last time I'm going to say that this season...nor is it the first time...by a long shot.

Just so everyone knows, I will be attending the game this Sunday along with a number of other rowdy Steeler fans from the greater New York/North Jersey area. The last time I showed up to a Steeler game? November 12, 2006 - Steelers v. Saints, the game in which FWP amassed a team record 213 yards, Big Ben threw 3 TDs and the Steelers edged the Saints 38-31. Despite the fact that the Saints made it a little TOO interesting, twas a good day for Steeler fans. And I fully expect Sunday to be the same way. Nonetheless, one can never been too confident...

Let me just say I'd like to make this game preview moderately interesting, but really there's only so much I can do. The keys here aren't going to be all that novel or diverse. But you will love them nonetheless, I hath decreed it...so be prepared.

Anyways, let's review what the Steelers will have to do against the J-E-T-S, JETS, JETS, JETS, from a 360 degree perspective...starting...NOW.

OFFENSE

  • Heavy Does of Fast Willie Parker ~ Listen, the Jets have the worst run defense in the league3. They've let opponents trample them for 1370 yards and 10 TDs. On the flipside, we just happen to have the league's #2 rusher...and of course Dump Davenport. You do the math. FWP 22+ carries = great success. I would hope.

  • Heath. Miller. Touchdown. ~ Unless the Jets plan on sticking Revis on Heath, they'll have a hell of a time stopping one of the leagues best, albeit understated, tight ends4. Who do you put on him, David Harris? I'm not trying to take anything away from Harris, I mean he is the Jets leading tackler, but really. David Harris, dude? Let's hit Heath at least 6 times on Sunday. Maybe even 7 for good luck...preferably in the red zone...

  • Float Like A Butterfly, Sting Like A Bee ~ And by that I mean Float with Hines Ward, Sting with San Antonio Holmes. Just like a heavyweight bout, football games are won by setting up your knock out blows. Play the possession game with Hines, and hit the home run over the top with Santonio. We've done it over the past few games, so no reason to stop now. As far as I can tell the Jets have but two things standing in the way of a big day for our wide out tandem - Darelle Revis and Kerry Rhodes. So be weary of them, but let's hit 'em till it hurts...
DEFENSE
  • Sort Kellen Clemens Out ~ I'm still not positive which marginal QB5 will be starting for the Jets this Sunday, but for the sake of argument I'll assume it's the 2nd year Clemens over the veteran, Chad Pennington. Really it doesn't much matter. Whomever shall take the field for the Jets Sunday, the Steelers should be sure to keep them on their toes, and if all goes well, on the ground. Bring the heat, bring the pain, bring the ruckus.

  • Shut 'Em Down ~ Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, Laveranues Coles, Jericho Cotchery. Thomas Jones - 160 Carries, 660 yards, NO TDs. Leon Washington - 38 Carries, 127 yards, 1 TD. Laveranues Coles - 42 catches, 473 yards, 6 TDs. Jericho Cotchery - 51 catches, 681 yards, 1 TD. Who else is there? If our front 7 can contain Thomas Jones and Leon Washington (mostly Jones), and Face Me Ike and DeShea can shut down Coles and Cotchery, what's left? The rest is manageable...though I do fear a Brad Smith trick play...keep yer eyes peeled fer that...

  • Get Off The Field on 3rd Down In Crunch Time ~ One of the negatives I felt we needed to address last week was the Browns final drive. Just like the Denver game, we gave them the ball back with just enough time to mount a field goal drive6, should we let them...and we rolled out the red carpet. Thank god for the Pittsburgh morass they call turf or chances are we'd have seen that game go into OT. SO, that's at least two games this year where we needed to step up on Defense in the clutch and we did not. Or at least didn't do a good enough job. This week, god forbid we get into a similar situation, we need to be able to stop them when it counts. If we make the playoffs and run up against teams like Indy and New England (who we'll also see Week 14), they're not going to be so easy to stop, especially late in the game. So we just need to hold tight. I know by then the Defense is getting tired, but all we ask is just 1,2,3 more solid minutes. That's all...
"SPECIAL" TEAMS
Just one thing to say ~ Beware Leon Washington.
In 9 games this season, Washington has returned a league high three kicks for TDs. He averages 33.5 yards per return, and his long was 98 yards, but one of the three TD runs. Considering the Steelers "Special" Teams woes of late, this is probably the most challenging aspect of our game this Sunday. Hopefully this Grant Mason character will add some value and maybe we'll even see some of our starters taking care of business on the kickoff and punt coverage. One way or another, Mike Tomlin has given us his word - the buck stops here. He's taking care of it...and Keisel reinforced the point7. So one can only hope they made an impression. My fingers are crossed...

Oh yeah, and the Jets, like the Steelers, suffer from no-cheerleader syndrome. Someday there will be boobies for all...we feel your pain Mangina.

And there you have it. 29 minutes later after reading this whole thing, hopefully you don't feel dumber than you did when you first sat down at your PC. Overall, I just want to see us win and win clean. Not necessarily blow them out, but do everything right. Minimize the mistakes. Play disciplined. Remind us all why it's great to be a Steeler fan.

So friends, enjoy the weekend...and if you're going to this game on Sunday, keep an eye out for me and come funnel a beer or two. Who ride?

FOOTNOTES:
1 ~ In all games not involving the Patriots, the Jets have only lost by an average margin of 5.6 points...
2 ~ #1 in all categories - points, yards, ass kicking, hot dog eating, etc. etc.
3 ~ In terms of yards given up that is...and being any good...
4 ~ See Monday's post...
5 ~ QB Ratings for Jets = Clemens-59.3 | Pennington-87.5...
6 ~ With 1:04 left Horse Balls marched the Browns 32 yards on 4 plays (not counting the spikes to stop the clock)
7 ~ Quoth Keisel "The Diesel" - "I just told them that special teams are all about desire and that you have to have desire to go down and make plays...I just felt like there wasn't the sense of urgency that needs to be there for us to be a great team."

REFERENCES AND/OR CONTEXTUAL DOCUMENTS:
New York Jets Stats [Pro-Footbal-Reference]
New York Jets Stats [ESPN]
Clemens Next Class In School of Rock [NewYorkJets.com]
Coles To Play vs. Steelers After Recovering From Concussion [ESPN]
Jets Ready For Smashmouth Steelers [The Journal News]
Steelers-Jets Features Matchup Between Two Of League's Kiddie Coaches [USA Today]
Keisel Addresses Steelers Special Teams [Tribune-Review]

Ballhype: hype it up!

4 comments:

domski43 said...

fired up about beer bongs!!! b-e-e-r b-o-n-g-s BEER BONGS!!!! From the amount of tickets being sold on stubhub and ebay...giants' stadium should be all black and gold sunday afternoon.

Go steelers!!!

Tobiathan said...

You guys are gonna get drunk? whaaa?

Naw, just kidding...have a few for me. I've retired from the Guiness Stout International Imbibery Crew. I can, however, still taste the Car Bombs sometimes.

so, the Jets, huh? These games always scare me. Obviously we've already had some trouble on the road. Denver and Arizona were painful experiences, and not because we lost as much as because we got beat. There's a big difference IMHO. We *should* win this game, and that's what scares me. Things have been looking a lot better this year though, so i'm hopeful.

One thing i have to say is that this coaching regime has managed to avoid the flat, gutless, confused appearence that Cowher's teams sometimes(albeit rarely) displayed. Don't know if it's Tomlin's demeanor, or if he is just a better personnell manager or what. But he's done a good job of keeping the team involved and competitive in every single game we've played this year.

That doesn't change the fact that i still worry that a 1-8 team might come out swinging and rock the Steelers back on their heels.

Howeva, i doubt that is gonna happen. Clemens is too fresh to read all the defenses, and he's facing some hungry, hungry animals in Pittsburgh's front seven(who haven't had a sack-fix in a couple weeks). I look for Silverback to have a good game for some undefinable reason. And I think this is a game where Anthony Smith(he still needs to earn the Sandman) could have a breakout day against smallish, quick-not-tough recievers.

Ben has really come into his own the last few weeks. I still think our early-season losses will be our only ones. So many people are so blind about the fact that EVERYBODY in the League plays hard in the first half of the season. Only the real tough-guys are still slugging it out just as hard in the end. This is the part of the season when the Steelers usually start peaking. I have every reason to believe this will hold true on Sunday.

As to ST's: something drastically needs to change. I know this is painfully obvious, but i look for Tomlin to have instituted some new energy into his coverage units. He doesn't strike me as a man who likes to be embarrassed. Not even a little bit.

If the Steelers play the rest of the season like scared, angry wild dogs we could be loooking at an excellent winter.

T

Tobiathan said...

BTW=

I just read in the latest article on Big Red Faneca that Silverback will be playing KR coverage if Woodley doesn't suit up.

That's pretty encouraging, honestly.

Cotter said...

"...not because we lost as much as because we got beat. -- Well said T. I think we'd all like to avoid both this weekend.

As for Silverback on ST - I just hope he doesn't get reckless...we can't afford to lose him on D.

I can't wait to get to this game...