The FanSided Network covers all 32 NFL teams. In an effort to gain more knowledge about the Steeler’s opponents each week, I’m writing to each site’s editor. This week the Steelers face the Jets. Alan Schechter is the leadeditor of The Jet Press, so I sent him a few questions to gain some perspective about the Jets heading into Week 2.
The Steelers defense continues to struggle with the spread and no huddle offense. Do you think the Jets attack this way? Are they capable of winning a game this way?
Tony Sparano is a big proponent of keeping pressure on the defense with a fast pace, so I could see the Jets working that in on Sunday afternoon. I am not sure that they can win by running a lot of spread offenses all day, they need to work off the running game. Mark Sanchez is at his best when the running game is working, and he can run play-action, designed roll outs, and plays of that nature. They tried a lot of spread stuff last year, and it didn’t work. There will be some spread, but it won’t dominate the game by any means.
The arrival of Tim Tebow has been… well has been as expected. What are your thoughts – can he ever start for the Jets, or will he always be in Sanchez’s shadow?
I have been very vocal about the fact that Tim Tebow cannot start for the New York Jets. During the preseason, we saw Tim Tebow attempt to run plays as a traditional quarterback, and it just didn’t work. He doesn’t have the quarterback skills to start. Mark Sanchez is a far better quarterback. Tim Tebow is most effective running his specific packages. The Jets will be in trouble, in my opinion, if Tebow starts for any reason other than a Sanchez injury. Even then, I think that Greg McElroy would be better off starting for the team.
What do you think are the key match-ups of the Steelers offense vs. the Jets defense?
I think this will be a big week for the middle of the Jets defense, the linebackers and safeties specifically. Why? Heath Miller. Big Ben clearly uses Big Ben as a safety blanket, and the Jets in past years have had difficulty with tight ends. LaRon Landry and Yeremiah Bell have made a huge difference physically, and Bart Scott is getting around back there a better than in previous years. We may see some of Demario Davis on passing downs. This will be a big test for the Jets down the field. I also worry about Antonio Brown on the outside, especially if Darrelle can’t go. Kyle Wilson will start in his place, and he is no Darrelle. I actually think the Jets run defense against the Pittsburgh run offense is a favorable matchup for the Jets, as they are pretty physical runners, not the small quick guys that give the Jets fits.
Rex Ryan. He’s been with the team since 2009. Is he the right coach to get the Jets back to the top of the AFC and into the Super Bowl? A Super Bowl win?
The answer, Craig, is an undeniable yes in my opinion. He has given the Jets a toughness over the last three years, that they haven’t had since the days of Bill Parcells. He talks a lot, not as much this year, but he is a confident guy, and has instilled that confidence in his team. It isn’t an overconfidence, though, he has them believing in themselves, and right now the team has an us against the world mentality. He has the coaches he likes in place (Tony Sparano), and Rex can absolutely take the Jets to the top of this sport.
This game will be a close game right up to the very end. Both defenses are going to keep this game very close. The Wildcat is going to come a bit more out of the bag than last week, we may even see Tebow throw a pass or two. I think in the end, the Jets surprise a lot of people with a 17-14 victory.