As much attention as the Wildcat is getting these days, the key for the Jets on Sunday in Pittsburgh might be the most basic of all football skills: blocking.
The Steelers are one of the most aggressive blitzing units in the league, so tracking the linebackers’ movements will be a crucial part of the Jets being able to move the ball.
“They’re a really physical team. They have guys up front that can rush the quarterback. We need to be sharp with our pass protection, picking up the blitzes,” fullback John Conner said. “Especially this week with a physical team, a physical defense, we need to bring the ‘A’ game in terms of protection, in terms of blocking.”
The Steelers were No. 1 in the league last year in scoring defense and total defense and their starting four linebackers — LaMarr Woodley, Larry Foote, Lawrence Timmons and James Harrison —are perhaps the most feared foursome of pass rushers in the league.
“Mark [Sanchez] is a great quarterback and if we give him time, he can find players against this great secondary,” running back Joe McKnight said. “It will mean us stepping up and blocking and doing the little things to get him time.”
Having spent his first four years in the league with the Steelers, wide receiver Santonio Holmes is familiar with how Pittsburgh likes to create pressure and havoc through the blitz.
“We do know [those] guys like to blitz. They depend on their guys up front to get to the ball — to get to the quarterback,” Holmes said.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.