Colts need to handle blitzing DBs

January, 7, 2011
1/07/11
10:54
AM ET
The Jets upgraded at corner in large part because of what happened to them in the 2009 AFC Championship Game at Lucas Oil Stadium

The question Saturday night is, how much will they send them after Peyton Manning as blitzers?

ESPN Stats & Info says the Jets blitzed defensive backs on 24 of 41 dropbacks by Manning in the last playoff meeting. (The Colts, meanwhile, used a DB in pass rush 25 times in ALL of 2010).

The Jets sacked Manning twice, but gave up 265 yards, 13 first downs and two touchdowns on 22 attempts.

Manning hasn’t been the same quarterback this year against pressure from the secondary, and the high percentage of off-target throws should work in the Jets’ favor.

Joseph Addai returned to action two week ago after an eight-game layoff with a neck injury. As important as he is in the run game, he may be even more important in this game in picking up those blitzers.

“Pass protection is at a premium when you’re playing an aggressive defense, a team that likes to blitz, which they do,” Manning said. “Up-front, tight ends, but certainly when talking about the running backs that is critical. Joe is excellent at it. He is a big, physical guy. That’s what we think is special about him is that he is a physical guy that can pass protect, yet can run routes and get open.

“Not many guys can do both really well. Usually the quicker guys, the good route runners, don’t protect as well, (and) the bigger blocking guys don’t run routes as well. Joe gives you that good versatility. I’m excited to have him back in the lineup. I know he’s glad to be back out there. He’ll play a pivotal role out there.”

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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