This is a conversation between me and my good friend, Brian Bassett, of the wildly popular Jets Blog.
As you can probably tell from our modified branding, we are throwing our support behind the Jets this week. I hope you enjoy as Brian and I discuss the upcoming game.
Sadler: Brian, how are you doing today?
Bassett: ok, good, I am listening to Toto’s Africa right now
Bassett: YOU MAY FIRE WHHHEN READEE!!!!
Sadler: Congrats on getting this far….I think when we talked a few weeks back, you had the sense that this team was not going to win the Super bowl, how has that changed?
Bassett: Thanks! It’s certainly been a wild ride all season, so the postseason has been no different. When a team loses in back to back weeks to division rivals, one good, one terrible, it has a way of dampening your spirits. As far as what’s changed? It’s been what I’ve been complaining about all season. The Jets have been able to put together good games in all three phases, and it’s turned out quite well for them.
Sadler: The Jets now have a formidable opponent in the Steelers. I know the Jets beat a Polamalu-less Steelers team a few weeks ago, What scare your most about the Steelers this time around?
Bassett: Two things, I think. First, that they are playing with an ax to grind from the home loss to the Jets back in December. They’re clearly focused and mad this week. There’s not been a lot of trash talked from the New York side, but Ike Taylor is saying things like he’ll “lay out” Santonio … so … the Jets are in a different spot this week it would seem. They actually respect the Steelers, unlike their divisional rival Patriots. Second, Polamalu, as you point out. He’s a much better player than Brandon “Big Bang Clock” Meriweather.
He’s a key to their team being able to clamp down on the run, and to add turnovers to their defense. The Jets will need to account for him, and Sanchez can’t be as daring with the moderate to deep passes against him.
Sadler: Brad Smith provided a special teams spark last time. How do the Jets generate enough points assuming he doesn’t run one back?
Bassett: Smith’s opening score was a great start for the Jets and let them play with more confidence early in the game. While Smith expects to play, it’s going to be very hard for him to beat this team again like that a second time. For the Jets, I truly believe it’s going to come down to how Sanchez can complete the ball to his slot receiver (Jerricho Cotchery or Dustin Keller split out) and how he can connect with LaDainian Tomlinson on screens, wheels and checkdowns. There’s not a lot of weakness in this Steelers defense, so the few cracks of daylight that there are, the Jets are going to have to work hard against.
Sadler: Is this one of those, lets keep the point total low and hope for the best?
Bassett: In my opinion? Definitely. There’s two great defenses going at each other. The Jets offense has gotten a lot better in recent weeks, but comparatively, the Steelers offense has been more productive over the course of the season, OL injuries and all.
Sadler: Do you personally dislike anything about or anyone on the Steelers?
Bassett: Imagine the way you feel about the Steelers. That’s how I feel about the Patriots. Imagine how you feel about the Patriots … that’s probably how I feel about the Steelers. There’s not enough familiarity to breed contempt, but there’s enough to respect what they do. With that said, Ben is a little rapey for my taste.
Sadler: FWIW- I HATE THE HOODIE AND TOM BRADY
Bassett: Oh. Well … in that case. I don’t hate the Steelers the way you do. I guess if I hate anything about them it’s the sanctimonious standard that the Rooney organization gets held to. That bothers me.
Sadler: We here at BSR have put our hopes in the Jets and I would assume that the heavy majority will be rooting for Sexy Rexy and the boys. Best of luck at doing what we couldn’t do…..
Bassett: Ha .. well … we’ll see. This is the most talented Jets team that I can ever remember. To me, their whole oeuvre of this team is that they have the talent to do
it, it’s whether they can show up with their head on straight, and whether or not they actually play as well as they can in all phases for both halves. If we can help to make Steelers Nation a miserable place on Monday on your behalf? We’d be glad to.