The Pittsburgh Steelers are entering what I would call a trap game vs the Jets in Week 4. Here are some dangerous players they need to game plan around.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are set to play the Jets in Week 4 and I am actually nervous at the prospect of playing them. This is a much different team than what the NFL saw in 2021. The Jets have added a lot of young talent, particularly on offense that will look to be a factor in the game and beyond. Everyone knew someone like Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner would have an impact and he has looked as good as a rookie CB can look coming into the league.
We look at other parts of the roster and CJ Uzomah is another addition that when he and his new running mate, Tyler Conklin, are healthy could be one of the best tight-end pairs in the league. Corey Davis is still a real deep threat and Elijah Moore seems to be taking a step forward in his second year. There is another receiver who I will talk about later that rounds out this receiving corps giving Zach Wilson a legitimate weapon on each section of the field.
The Jets may be sitting at just 1-2 but so are the Steelers. New York has also done this without their franchise quarterback at the helm of this new-look offense that is young, dynamic, and explosive.
The three players I am about to mention in particular need to be a focal point in the Steelers’ defensive game-planning this week if Pittsburgh hopes to come out with a win.
Steelers need to be wary of OROY candidate, Garrett Wilson
While there has been a ton of talk around Pittsburgh about rookie wide receiver George Pickens, the Jets have a star rookie receiver themselves. Garrett Wilson has been probably the best player on the field for the Jets up to this point in 2022. If Zach Wilson comes in and plays better than Flacco throughout the rest of the season, Garrett is my favorite to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Furthermore, there are injury concerns in the Steelers’ defensive backfield.
Wilson has 4.38 speed and it shows on film. One of the biggest knocks for Wilson would be how he handles press coverage in the NFL and he answered that question against Cleveland in Week 2. The Browns didn’t have an answer. When they pressed him, they were beaten at the start of the play.
When they gave Wilson space, he’d catch the ball underneath and make guys miss after the catch. The Jet’s rookie receiver appears to be the real deal and with some time in the league to refine his route running, he has the potential to be one of the best in the business.
Breece Hall is acclimating to the league nicely
The Jets have probably the best running back pair in the league under the age of 25. The first of these two backs is Breece Hall. The former Iowa State standout has 5 total touchdowns in just 3 weeks and has been the more efficient back in his offense. He has good size and his running style reminds me of something similar to Alvin Kamara’s. He demonstrates good vision and is not a twitchy runner.
Hall kind of glides as he is running across the field and he has that ability to just kind of shrug guys off when he rounds a corner. His route running out of the backfield is very impressive for a rookie running back and if his hands become a little more consistent his game will be as well-rounded as it gets. Hall is their go-to guy in the RedZone and that is where he is most dangerous.
Michael Carter is a different type of runner Steelers must defend
Both of these backs are great route runners out of the backfield, but both need to be a little more consistent in holding on to their pass attempts. That is where the similarities end between these two backs. It’s really yin and yang. While Hall is consistent and smooth Carter is twitchy and often yields a 2-yard gain or a 10-yard gain.
Carter’s style of running reminds me more of an Austin Ekeler. He keeps his hips low and he bounces off of would-be tacklers consistently. If the Jets’ run blocking was better both of these backs could be top 10 in most statistic categories. If the Steelers don’t finish their tackles with this guy it’ll be a long day. Carter’s in a very long tie for 9th in the league in terms of broken tackles and I expect that number to improve throughout the season.