Answer Man XIII

<b>Reporter:</b> Well, Answer Man, it looks like you were right way back in April of 2000. It turns out drafting Plaxico Burress over Chad Pennington was the right move, particularly when you factor Ben Roethlisberger into the equation. What's amazing is Pennington can't throw the deep ball at all, can he?

AM: Nope. But he makes quick decisions, good decisions and knows exactly where all his people are in the offense they're in. They'll take a shot every once in awhile downfield but that's not their thing.
Reporter: How much respect should a safety give him?
AM: You still have to respect the speed of their wide receivers. He's not going to throw a 60-yard bomb but he can still complete a 45- or 50-yarder, and you've got Santana Moss and (Justin) McCareins that have speed to get down the field. You still have to give them a little respect. Like I said, they'll go once or twice and just throw it and see if the receiver can make a play.
Reporter: So he can loft it?
AM: Right. He just doesn't have that strong arm to throw that Hail Mary 60, 70 yards but he can still hit you on a 45, 50-yard deep pass.
Reporter: Byron Leftwich could, but he had problems with the short game. Pennington's the opposite isn't he?
AM: Yeah. He'll hit that. At the 2-yard line, he'll loft it and hit that outside shoulder.
Reporter: What about the other Jets skill players?
AM: Curtis (Martin) is looking as good as he did five years ago. As for the receivers, McCareins has some size but other than that they're small guys, Santana Moss, (Wayne) Chrebet.
Reporter: When Lamont Jordan came out people called him the next Jerome Bettis. How's he doing?
AM: He's not like Bettis, but he's a good running back. He could start on a lot of teams. He's not as powerful as Bettis and he obviously doesn't have the size of Bettis, but he's a good runner.
Reporter: How's our West Virginia friend Anthony Becht doing at tight end?
AM: He's a solid guy. Nothing spectacular but you can win with him. He'd probably start here. Not probably, he would start here.
Reporter: So what about the tight end spot here? What does the loss of Jay Riemersma mean?
AM: How many times did we throw to Jay this year?
Reporter: But wasn't his speed more threatening?
AM: To me, Jay and Jerame (Tuman) are about the same speed. Jay may be a little faster, but if you look he's not that fast. He was just so productive in Buffalo, but just because he's a receiving tight end doesn't mean he's fast. We don't have fast tight ends. (Matt) Kranchick's the fastest. If you put him in there, he's a bigger threat getting downfield than Riemermsa.
Reporter: But wouldn't his lack of blocking ability tip off opponents that it's a passing down?
AM: You could throw him in there and run opposite to balance it up.
Reporter: Why was Walter Rasby let go by the Redskins after he started six games for them?
AM: He said they decided to go in another direction. He's a solid blocking tight end. He's not going to get open against man. He can catch the ball but his forte's blocking and that's where we can get back to running a lot of those different two tight end sets and stuff like that.
Reporter: What about the Jets' offensive line?
AM: Solid. (Jason) Fabini's not the best athlete but he's technically sound and he's big and he's strong. (Pete) Kendall's very good. (Kevin) Mawae is the closest I've ever seen to Dermontti Dawson. He's starting to slip a little bit but he's still good. He's not getting out and leading the screens and the draws like he used to. In his prime, he was the closest I've seen, but he's still good. (Brandon) Moore is a converted D-tackle. He's learning. He's probably the weakest guy there because he doesn't know the techniques and stuff like that. (Kareem) McKenzie is an athletic guy who can move. He's not the nasty strong guy but he can front you and stay in your way and be productive. Solid line.
Reporter: I liked Adrian Jones last draft. How's he doing and did you guys like him?
AM: Yeah. Big guy had some athletic ability but he's been inactive most of the time or in a back-up role.
Reporter: How big of a loss to their defense is John Abraham?
AM: Bryan Thomas hasn't lived up to what people thought he was coming out, but you've got Shaun Ellis, which is pretty good. (DeWayne) Robertson and (Jason) Ferguson are very good. I like those guys. They've got a solid defensive line. With Thomas, you're not going to have that threat of the pure pass rusher off the edge but he's probably a little better against the run than Abraham was, just because of size and bulk, but he's not the pass rusher. So the running's going to be tough on these guys, and without Abraham you may have a little more time but I'm assuming they may just start throwing some blitzes at you to compensate.
Reporter: Are they mainly cover-2?
AM: They mix it up. A lot of zone and combination stuff. They got away from that Tampa stuff. (Defensive coordinator) Donnie Henderson came from Baltimore.
Reporter: What about their linebackers? Is Sam Cowart doing anything?
AM: He's been hurt so Jonathan Vilma's in there and Vilma's an instinctive guy who's just small. He's one of those guys who's going to fly around and beat you with speed, quickness and instincts, and he's pretty ferocious as a player. If you get somebody on him he'll have trouble. The two big tackles make him better. He's the same type of guy as Zach Thomas. Eric Barton is from Oakland and he's a very good player. Victor Hobson's been hurt so they've been using Mark Brown and he's alright. He's pretty stout at the point but he's limited range-wise.
Reporter: Could they use James Farrior?
AM: Yeah. A lot of people could.
Reporter: What about their secondary?
AM: David Barrett is pretty good. He's aggressive, has awareness and quickness. When he gets in trouble is when he plays press. (Donnie) Abraham, I'd heard he lost a step but not from what I've seen. He still has quickness and makes plays on the ball. His problem would be a flat-out footrace, and from us that wouldn't be a concern.
Reporter: Is Derrick Strait playing?
AM: No. Terrell Buckley's their sub guy. We thought Strait had some skill coming out and that he could move into a sub package. Now, you don't know the complication of the defense and how comfortable he is.
Reporter: The guy I really liked in the middle of the draft was Erik Coleman. How's he doing with the Jets?
AM: He's playing well. He's playing real well. I like him. The only thing that hurts him is coming up and flat-out blowing people up. He's not that guy. He's a little guy, but he'll make the sure tackle, has cover skills, ball skills and will be in the right place at the right time.
Reporter: What's your take on this game?
AM: It'll be a tough game, a real tough game. We're going to have to stop the run, gear up to stop the run. It'll come down to who can make the bigger plays in the passing game.
Reporter: Will the Steelers respect this team?
AM: Oh yeah. Just look at the film. They're a solid team. They should've beaten New England. They beat themselves. That's their problem. Once in awhile they'll beat themselves. If we don't make mistakes, they'll make one I think, and hopefully we can capitalize. But whoever makes the bigger plays in the passing game will win, and that benefits us because our guy can move. He can get out and run. But it's going to be a tough one.


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