FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The Pittsburgh Steelers always seem to find a diamond in the rough at receiver through the draft, from Antonio Brown in 2010 to Martavis Bryant in 2014. In the third round of the 2015 NFL draft, the Steelers selected wide receiver Sammie Coates who is suddenly emerging as a big time receiving threat in the Pittsburgh offense.
"Explosive receiver," Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said of Coates. "He can take the top off of a defense."
Coates had the best game of his career last Sunday night against the Kansas City Chiefs catching six passes for 79 yards. Pittsburgh's first offensive play of that game ended with Ben Roethlisberger completing a 47-yard pass to Coates deep down the right sideline. Coates, playing in front of a nationally televised audience, showed great instincts by slowing up his stride and elevating to make the grab. What stood out most was that Coates ran right past one of the best cornerbacks in the league, Marcus Peters. That certainly isn't a good sign for the Jet secondary as they have giving up some big plays to quick receivers.
This Sunday, the Jets will have to deal with wide out Antonio Brown who is liable to torch anyone, and with a strong performance from Coates last week, Gang Green must expand its game plan to deal with the duo. We all know what Brown can do on any given Sunday but Coates can be the next big thing if he continues to develop. The second-year player out of Auburn, has 13 catches for 282 yards and is averaging 21.7 yards per catch this season. Coates has recorded a reception of at least 40 yards in each of the first four games this season. The Jets must defend the deep ball because secondary breakdowns have plagued the team all season.
However, Rodgers said he is "totally confident" that the secondary could fix their communication issues and play well Sunday.
Cornerback Darrelle Revis is dealing with a hamstring issue and the team doesn't know if he'll suit up on Sunday. "Unless he gets better, it'll go right up until game time," said head coach Todd Bowles.
If Revis can't go it could be a long afternoon for the Jet defense, but Rodgers said he is confident that rookie corner Juston Burris will be ready to contribute if Revis can't go.
"If JB (Burris) plays, we have the ultimate confidence in him," said Rodgers.
With Revis' status up in the air, Roethislberger will challenge the Jet secondary with the deep ball. Coates is a big six-foot-one 212 pound receiver who can run and his receptions of 41, 42, and 53 yards this season makes him a deep threat. The Jets have to secure the back end of its defense and avoid running after the back of Coates' jersey.
Marcus Reynolds is a staff writer for Jetsinsider.com.NYJScout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@Marcus_JRNL), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).