By Justin Paley
Jets Staff Writer
December 9th, 2004
The Jets defense is ranked first in the NFL in points allowed per game. But this week, they will have a tough test against the 11-1 Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Jets defense is ranked first in the NFL in points allowed per game. But this week, they will have a tough test against the 11-1 Pittsburgh Steelers.

DE Shaun Ellis talked about the Jets game plan for stopping Steelers RB Jerome Bettis.

“You just have to stay aggressive on him, just tackle him and get as many hits on him as you can,” Ellis said. “Don’t get out of your rush lanes and make it hard for him to escape.”

Bettis has rushed for 627 yards this year and the Steelers are second in the NFL, averaging 153.7 yards per game.

Ellis will be counted on to step up with DE John Abraham out with a knee injury suffered last week. He talked about what the defense has to do.

“We just have to step up our game,” Ellis said. “Everybody on our line has to rise to the occasion. When you lose one of your best pass rushers, the other guys have to pick up their games.”

Ellis said the Jets will miss Abraham’s leadership.

“He is a team leader for us on defense,” Ellis said. “We have a lot of good team leaders but he is one of the ones that people listen to on the defense. It is going to hurt not having him here. He worked so hard this off-season to really get himself in to position to finish out a season, but things didn’t end up that way.”

Abraham said he has not started running yet and will take his time getting back. Abraham said he has confidence in his teammates.

“I think Bryan (Thomas) is going to step up and have a good game,” Abraham said today. “I also think Shaun (Ellis) and Ferg (Jason Ferguson) are going to be the leaders that they have been. I am not worrying about my team at all. I really don’t think it is going to be a big drop off. I think Bryan is really going to go in there and play well.”

If the Jets are going to hand the Steelers their first loss in 11 games, Ellis and the rest of the d-line will have to put pressure on Steelers rookie QB Ben Roethlisberger. Ellis talked about what makes Roethlisberger a good QB.

“He is very composed in the pocket, evasive and keeps plays alive with his scrambling and he can throw the ball downfield.” Ellis said.

INJURY REPORT: The Jets are relatively healthy heading into Sunday’s game in Pittsburgh. LB Victor Hobson remains questionable with an ankle injury. Head Coach Herman Edwards said Hobson is close to coming back. “He practiced today,” Edwards said. “I don’t know if he’s 100 percent. But he practiced well. He’s probably about 85 percent.” Here is this week’s injury report.

-DE John Abraham (knee): Out
-LB Victor Hobson (ankle): Questionable
-LB Jason Glenn (forearm): Probable
-WR Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring): Probable
-CB Oliver Celestin (ankle): Probable

The team will continue their preparation for the 11-1 Steelers tomorrow before leaving for Pittsburgh. Check back often to Jets for all the latest team news and reports.

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