By Ryan Alfieri, Editor
If you have followed my work over the years, you would know that there are few bigger Darrelle Revis fans than myself. Not only do I believe that he is the best defensive player in the game, but he will eventually go down as the best cornerback in NFL history.
Still, as good as Revis is, Keller’s absense hurt the Jets more on Sunday, and here’s why:
Offensively, the Jets came out of the gate hot, scoring ten points in barely over a quarter of play. Sanchez was poised, the receivers were getting open, and the line was holding up in protection.
So what happned to prevent the Jets from scoring any more points throughout the entire game?
The answer really is simple: the Jets’ receivers could not get off press coverage. Pittsburgh is more known for being a zone, off-corner team, so the fact that the Jets could not get off press coverage against a team that rarely utilizes the technique is troublesome.
So what does Dustin Keller have to do with this?
If Keller was in the game (and fully healthy), the Steelers likely would have used more than one safety or linebacker to cover him over the middle. As a result, the Steelers would not have been able to use the 2-deep man schemes they were using.
The downside to using press coverage is that once the receiver gets off the press, they usually are able to gain quick separation because of the aggressiveness of the corner right off the line. However, by being able to keep two safeties deep, the Steelers could use press coverage all game long without having to worry about giving up a big play.
Again, using press coverage all game long is very uncharacteristic of the Steelers, but why would they stop using it if it was being so effective?
Blame the receivers (namely Stephen Hill) for not being able to free themselves, but the Jets could have used motions or screens to get the Steelers to back off, but they simply did not make any adjustments to free up their receivers.
Therefore, while Revis was sorely missed on third downs for the defense, the loss of Dustin Keller doomed the Jets simply because they were not able to make any kind of adjustments to what the Steelers were doing on defense. Now, after being dominated by a zone-coverage team in the press, expect the Jets to see a lot more press coverage from future opponents after they take a look at this tape.