Jets-Steelers: Farrior simplifies plot

PITTSBURGH – From a player's point of view, James Farrior created a journalistic masterpiece in the locker room this week.<br><br> With New York reporters asking him about the past and Pittsburgh reporters asking him about his MVP present, the popular Farrior was able to walk away unscathed in spite of his honesty.

A few examples:

Farrior was asked what the Jets will do differently for Saturday's 4:30 AFC playoff game at Heinz Field.

"Have their guys play a little bit better," Farrior said.

How are you going to win this game?

"Confuse Chad (Pennington) and contain Curtis (Martin)," he said.

How do you counter maximum protection?

"Keep coming."

Why is Pennington so difficult to intercept?

"He's an accurate thrower."

Will you be big in New York this week?

"I just talked to the media."

What did you tell them?

"Not too much."

There's really not too much more to say. The Jets have a smart, accurate but weak-armed quarterback in Pennington (91.0). He lofts balls to speedster Santana Moss (45-838-5), old Steelers-nemesis Justin McCareins (56-770-4), slot man Wayne Chrebet (31-397-1) and WVU tight end Anthony Becht (13-100-1); he hands off to Martin (371-1697) and bruising back-up LaMont Jordan (93-479) behind an offensive line that includes Pro Bowlers Kevin Mawae (C) and Pete Kendall (LG) with Penn State's Kareem McKenzie at right tackle.

Defensively, the Jets used 3-5 and 4-4 fronts and walked a safety up for several 9-man fronts last month in their 17-6 loss at Heinz Field.

Several of the Steelers' linemen expect the Jets to do the same thing today and force rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to win the game.

Roethlisberger was presented with the scenario and asked for a reaction. He answered with a somewhat testy, "I guess we'll have to see."

Steelers back-up quarterback Tommy Maddox doesn't expect the Jets to use the same defensive strategy.

"Now I don't think they would go from a 4-4 scheme to a cover-2 scheme," Maddox said. "But they'll try to get a safety involved and try to keep four DBs out there and try to go about it that way."

If the Jets do in fact open in their 3-5 front, would the Steelers commence throwing the ball?

"I don't think it's what we want to do," Maddox said. "Even if they do run that defense there are certain plays in which we can still run the ball and do some of the things we like to do and block it up pretty well. I don't think it will completely take us out of who we are and what we do.

"It'll be interesting. If they do that, and you make a couple big plays, they have to decide if they want to keep doing this and you throw them off of their game plan."

In terms of health, both teams will miss a front-seven defender. The Jets will miss end John Abraham and the Steelers will miss Kendrell Bell. But both teams have gotten quite used to playing without them.

In fact, the Steelers have become accustomed to playing without the several starters who are returning to their lineup. Farrior was asked what a healthy Clark Haggans will bring to the defense upon his return to left outside linebacker.

"Well, Clark's going to have to make them plays that James Harrison was making," Farrior said. "So he's going to have to raise his level. But Clark's been doing well all year. We expect him to play great as he has all season. There's definitely not going to be any drop-off."

Farrior doesn't expect a drop-off as the former starter pushes his replacement back to the bench. Now that may have been his most honest comment all week.


Steel City Insider Top Stories