It’s only one game, but the New York Jets stirring opening week performance against the Buffalo Bills certainly captured the attention of Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.
“I thought they complemented themselves very well in all three phases,” Tomlin remarked. “What I mean is, the offense capitalized on short fields, of course. They did a nice job of putting points on the board, not field goals, but touchdowns. The special teams came through with a big play. I just thought it was a good representation of a quality effort in all three phases of the football team.”
Not too shabby for an organization trying to shed a three-ring circus label and put a dysfunctional 2011 season in the rearview. Rex Ryan and company return to the Steel City this Sunday for the first time since the 2011 playoffs, when they fell 22-17 in the AFC Championship game.
Jets' quarterback Mark Sanchez during the 2010 AFC Championship Game
According to Tomlin, Gang Green’s defense is even better than the last time these two teams met, thanks in large part to a prized free agent addition at safety.
“I think they’re a strong group,” stated Tomlin. “I think specifically (LaRon) Landry brings an awesome demeanor to a defense, a guy that plays the ball the way he plays. Relentlessly, (he’s) a guy who plays hard and is very physical and aggressive. I think he’s a great addition to them. I think personalities like his, from a football standpoint, bleed over to others. I think it’s an inspiring thing.”
One of New York’s most inspiring offensive players, Wildcat quarterback Tim Tebow, is an all-too familiar name to Pittsburgh’s coaching staff as he was the driving force behind the Denver Broncos 29-23 overtime victory against the Steelers in the 2012 AFC Wildcard round. While Tomlin is preparing his team to defend Tebow’s unconventional offense, he’s confident that his unit is ready for the challenge
“The Wildcat is not as obscure as it once was about three, four, five years ago,” admitted Tomlin. “You have to be prepared for it at least once a month over the course of a football season, at least that’s kind of been our experience over the last two or three years. It’s not as big of an undertaking, at least from a preparation standpoint, as it once was.”