Safety a serious concern for Jets

December, 17, 2010
12/17/10
3:23
PM ET
The New York Jets continue to suffer losses at safety.

Two weeks ago, Jim Leonhard broke his leg and James Ihedigbo went down with knee and ankle injuries. Eric Smith sustained a concussion against the Miami Dolphins last week.

That means the Jets will start converted cornerback Dwight Lowery at safety Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

I reached out to Scouts Inc. analyst Matt Williamson to get his take on how much the Jets' depleted safety corps will be an issue versus a physical team such as the Steelers.

"It certainly is a problem," Williamson said. "Rex Ryan loves having a 'quarterback of the defense' to really get everyone aligned well in front of the safeties. I think it really takes away from Ryan's complex blitz packages because he can't trust his deep patrol.

"Against the Steelers, though, it's tough to say. Their blitz recognition and pass protection in general is just awful. But Ben Roethlisberger is such a wild card. The way he extends plays and generates big plays after things break down could be real bad news for a new group of safeties.

"On the other hand, the Jets might and should consistently get to Roethlisberger without bringing a lot of added pressure."

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