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Saturday, January 22, 2011
A plan of attack against Sanchez, Big Ben

By Tim Graham

Scouts Inc. analyst Matt Williamson examined the best way to attack all four quarterbacks in Sunday's conference championship games.

For a detailed examination, be sure to click on the link.

Here are highlights from Williamson's rundown of leading men in Sunday night's AFC Championship Game at Heinz Field ...

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers


Strengths: "His playmaking skills are off the charts, and his mental makeup is superb for these endeavors. And Roethlisberger just might have the best physical skill set in the NFL. He is a big, strong quarterback who plays big and strong in everything he does. That goes for the way he throws the football, how he is as a runner and the degree of difficulty needed to put him on the ground within the pocket. He can make plays that few others can even dream of because of his overall physical gifts."

Roethlisberger
Roethlisberger
Plan of attack: "Roethlisberger is greatly improved in the pre-snap phases, but he still can be had mentally. There always will be a playground aspect to the way he plays the position, which can be a positive and a negative. The Steelers' pass-protection blitz pickup is a problem area. That is exactly what Jets coach Rex Ryan wants to hear; few teams can disguise and alter their pressures as well as the Jets."

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets


Strengths: "He is fearless in the clutch and often plays his best football when it matters most. His mental makeup is impressive, especially considering his age (24). Sanchez also has confidence in his talented receiving corps and isn't bashful about putting the ball up for the receivers to make a play. He is a pretty decent deep passer. But Sanchez runs hot and cold. The Jets' coaching staff does a good job of giving him easy throws and using the running game to build his confidence."

Sanchez
Sanchez
Plan of attack: "His accuracy is a major problem, and he is the least physically impressive QB of these four by a large margin. To make life toughest on Sanchez and the Jets, eliminating the running game has to be the top priority. Pittsburgh is the best team in the league against the run. Second, you want Sanchez to throw outside the numbers and really test his arm strength. He isn't the type of passer who can consistently drive the ball into tight areas, especially in poor weather."