New York Jets: Smith In, Taylor Sits As Jets Prepare for AFC Championship Game
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For two weeks, the Jets' catalyst Brad Smith has been injured with a groin injury he received during the Jets' wild card game against the Colts, and against the Patriots, Smith did not play. Smith plays a huge role in the Jets offensive package as the run their version of the wildcat with Smith taking the snaps. Against the Bills, Smith showed how much of a threat he is when he rushed five times gaining a total of 60 yards.
Meanwhile, Jets linebacker Jason Taylor sat out with a concussion he got during last week's divisional round against the Patriots. Against New England, Taylor had four tackles. Although Taylor's stats make him seem unimportant, it is the pressure he applies and the one-two punch of him and Shaun Ellis is what makes impacts on opposing quarterbacks.
Although Smith was practicing, he could not go 100 percent. During the Jets' practice on Wednesday, Smith took part in receiver drills but he was running gingerly. As of right now, if Smith does not get much playing time the biggest impact it will make is Brian Schottenheimer's play-calling. Although Smith is a kick returner, Antonio Cromartie has taken the position of kick returner and has proven that it was a good decision by special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff. Cromartie was the key in the Jets game winning drive against the Colts as he returned the kick close to Colts territory making it a lot easier for Mark Sanchez to set up the kick for Nick Folk.
All is not bad for Jason Taylor though, the Jets sat the veteran as a precautionary effort; Taylor passed all of the tests the training staff had for him and he's cleared for Sunday's game at Pittsburgh.
For the Jets, having these two playmakers banged up will make a big impact in their play-calling. In terms of Jason Taylor, expect him to play less and expect to see more of Calvin Pace (who is hot after the game in New England when he sacked Tom Brady). Brad Smith's situation will be similar, Cromartie will likely get a start at kick returner for the second week in a row and the Jets will look to go back to their "ground n pound" scheme especially when they have tough nosed Shonn Greene who has been a star for the Jets in the playoffs.
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