Will Ryan error in putting Cromartie on Wallace again?

Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Wallace pulls in a pass and runs away from Carolina Panthers Nic Harris for 43 yards and a touchdown in the second quarter at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on December 23, 2010. UPI/Archie Carpenter

Far be it for anyone to question one of Rex Ryan’s defensive game plans. As much as fans and members of the media think they know about the game, we actually know very little about the X’s and O’s and what it takes to run a defense in the NFL.

That said, I found something that Rotowold.com wrote very interesting about Ryan’s potential game plan this Sunday when it comes to covering Steelers’ receivers Hines Ward and Mike Wallace.

Manish Mehta of the NY Daily News predicts that the Jets will use Darrelle Revis to cover Hines Ward in the AFC Championship Game.

Mehta anticipates Antonio Cromartie covering Mike Wallace. It’s the same way the Jets played Pittsburgh in Week 15, and Wallace went off for 110 yards while Revis held Ward to 34 on two catches. It’d be a mistake, as far as we’re concerned. Using Revis on the declining, 34-year-old Ward would be a waste when the shutdown corner has the ability to eliminate Pittsburgh’s true No. 1 receiver. Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders will remain potential difference makers as they prepare for Dwight Lowery and Drew Coleman.

I think the idea is that since Cromartie has more speed, he can match up better with Wallace. But as Pierre Garcon proved two weeks ago, if Cromartie isn’t allowed to get his hands on receivers at the line of scrimmage and be physical with them out of their stance, he’s liable to get burned deep. And considering Wallace averages over 20 yards per reception, that’s a concern that Ryan should have if he wants Cromartie to shadow the young wideout.

But as Rotoworld points out, this is just a “prediction” by Mehta. Who knows what coverage Ryan will unveil this Sunday in Pittsburgh. He’s well aware of the speed that the Steelers’ wideouts posses and he’s not going to put his defenders in a position to fail. Nobody was more irate at Cromartie on that Garcon touchdown than Ryan was, so he’s well aware of what could happen this weekend if he puts him on Wallace.

Or if he isn’t, then things could get real interesting on Sunday when Pittsburgh drops back to pass.

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