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Steelers Vs. Jets: Battle Among Jets Secondary, Steelers Receivers


The brash Jets' defense isn't any less aggressive this year than they have been in the past.

After coming off a three interception day (with a return for a score by Antonio Cromartie), they don't seem to have a reason not to be confident. A big part of the reason for that is due to the scheme the Jets run.

They can mix and match zone with man defenses, and still blitz, putting loads of pressure on the quarterback. Just ask Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, who had one of the worst games of his career in Week 1.

The obvious key to the Jets' secondary is cornerback Darrelle Revis. While he's as good as any cornerback who's played in the last decade, how they use him is a big part of why he's successful.

Here's why:

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Against Buffalo, the secondary struck early.

On Buffalo's first possession, it's 2nd-and-13 after a false start penalty and running back Fred Jackson was stuffed a two yard gain on first down. Buffalo lines up in a posse package (3WR, 1 TE, 1 RB) with twins to the offensive left side. The Jets show man coverage, with Cromartie shadowing the right side receiver as he motions to the backfield. Revis and CB Kyle Wilson covering the inside and outside receivers, respectively.



Fitzpatrick has time to scan the field, and hits tight end Scott Chandler, who beat strong safety LaRon Landry in single coverage on an out route for a first down.

Remember that formation.

The Bills run with Jackson again on first down, losing three yards. They jog out essentially the same formation on another 2nd-and-13 situation. The Jets defend it with what looks to be the same coverage. Cromartie trails the split receiver on the offensive right side, suggesting man coverage. Landry inches close to the line suggesting he's blitzing.

On the offensive left side, the receivers are again stacked, and Wilson and Revis are again suggesting they're in man coverage - Wilson playing the slot receiver in bump-and-run while Revis is over the top playing the angle on the outside receiver.

At the snap, Wilson shuffles to his right, moving with the outside receiver, holding true to his bump-and-run man coverage. He rubs the outside receiver as Revis shades to the inside of the field. That gives Fitzpatrick the suggestion the Jets are in man, and he sees Wilson and Revis both covering the outside receiver. Wilson rubbed him to the inside, giving Fitzpatrick what he thinks is a pretty decent window to hit the receiver at the sideline.



Just as Fitzpatrick makes that determination, Wilson drops back, showing the Jets are in zone, and not man. Revis didn't trail the slot receiver's in route, and is sitting over the top, with all the time and room in the world to jump the out route for the interception.

Jets ball, and it went downhill for Buffalo from there.

The Steelers have the advantage of having a much stronger-armed quarterback than Fitzpatrick, and that, along with a sharper route run by the receiver, could have prevented the turnover.

Because of that, though, the Steelers need to practice with razor-sharp focus this week. Showing the same formation twice will likely not bring the same coverage, aiming to keep the offense's pre-snap reads off-balance.