Florham Park, N.J.– After the way the Jets stomped the Bills, Jets fans were feeling pretty confident about their chances to go into Pittsburgh and come away with a win to start the season 2-0. It’s certainly still possible the Jets could pull out a victory but you’d have to think their chances decrease dramatically with the news that All-World corner Darrelle Revis will not play.
Revis still hasn’t been cleared by the doctor’s, even though he was on the practice field today, the team doctors clearly aren’t comfortable with clearing him to play against the Steelers. Concussions are tricky because there’s no standard timetable for a return, each one is different. With Revis out, it’s next man up. Kyle Wilson will get the start on the outside and Ellis Lankster will move up to the nickel back with Isaiah Trufant as the fourth corner, which could be a problem considering his height, or lack there of. Today Rex Ryan said, “We have a lot of confidence in Kyle,” a sentiment his players echoed all week in the locker room. Wilson has been preparing for this worst case scenario all week and will be well prepared for his task, but it is no easy task.
The Steelers are tough enough to defend, with their speedy, sure-handed receivers and a quarterback who finds ways to buy all sorts of time so his receivers can break off routes and run to open space for an easy completion. Even with Revis, the Steelers would’ve had other options. No Revis opens up a lot of the field for the Steelers offense.
Revis is out, but it sounds like Eric Smith and Sione Po’uha will play which will certainly help the defense out and the Jets hope their return can help mask the absence of Revis. Po’uha will certainly help in the run game and should be able to eat up blockers to open things up for the rest of the defense. Smith will come in as the third safety and could be a big help, not only against the run, but by having coverage on Heath Miller and company when they come across the middle. Smith can play the underneath coverage, leaving Landry and Bell on the back end to come and clean up.
On the offensive side of the ball the Jets will also be without Dustin Keller (hamstring), the team has re-signed Dedrick Epps for depth but Jeff Cumberland will be the starting tight end. You can also expect to see plenty of Jason Smith in jumbo sets as the Jets will need an extra blocker to rely on.
Losing Revis and Keller obviously hurts the Jets chances this week, but the Steelers are dealing with their own injury issues. The offensive line has all sorts of problems and it sounds as if James Harrison and Troy Polamalu are both unlikely to play.
All things considered that seems like a pretty fair trade off.
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