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Kyle Wilson Ready to Roll on Two Fronts

Posted Sep 12, 2012

The Jets’ win over the Bills on Sunday was highlighted by the strong play of quarterback Mark Sanchez, wide receivers Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill and offensive tackle Austin Howard.

But make no mistake about it, cornerback Kyle Wilson also was a valuable contributor.

On Buffalo’s second drive of the game, the former Boise State product rode Bills wide receiver David Nelson’s hip and intercepted the Ryan Fitzpatrick pass, giving the Jets possession at their 48-yard line.

“They came out in one of their favorite formations that we had tape on,” Wilson said of the play. "I just kind of anticipated some routes. I didn’t jump it or anything. I just played it, played through it, just got out of my break, saw the ball was coming and made the play. Nothing too crazy.”

The interception was the second of three forced by the Jets defense on the afternoon. And his impressive play wasn’t just noticed on the defensive side of the ball. He also stood out on special teams as he made a terrific block in the early stages of Kerley’s 68-yard punt-return touchdown.

“I think Wilson has established himself now as a veteran presence in the slot and what he’s capable of doing,” Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin said today on a conference call with Jets reporters as the Jets and Steelers began practices for Sunday's showdown.

Now in his third year in the NFL, Wilson said he knows better what to expect heading into a game. He is a smarter player and he's using his experience to his advantage.

“I think the big thing for me is evolving as the game goes on,” he said, “taking from what you see on film and then taking it to a game and seeing if what you see holds true in the first quarter, or how they’ve adjusted, and how they’re going to attack you the whole game. I think that part of adjusting probably has changed for me the most.”

The 5’10”, 190-pounder plays the inside corner position, covering slot receivers. However, if outside corner Darrelle Revis is unable to go Sunday, Wilson would transition to the outside. Revis got hurt during the fourth quarter against Buffalo when he tackled Bills running back C.J. Spiller and was accidentally kicked in the head by teammate, Bart Scott. Revis was cleared for physical activity today but his status for Sunday remains uncertain.

“Obviously I’ve been practicing it,” Wilson said.  “It just comes with my game. It just comes with the territory. I’ve got to be able to know all the positions, and obviously I do. So it doesn’t really change anything for me. It doesn’t really change anything regarding my focus or attention to detail. It’s stuff you prepare for every single week.”

Wilson said in practice he usually splits half of his reps at the slot position and the other half on the outside. Along with possibly having to play outside corner, Wilson could also see time at punt returner Sunday. Kerley didn’t participate in team drills this afternoon due to stiffness in his lower back.

“I’m back in the mix,” Wilson said. “I’m doing a lot on special teams, so if Coach Westhoff needs me, I’m there. I’m definitely willing to do that.”

Heinz Field is not an easy environment for any Steelers opponent to play in. And for the Jets to be successful, it begins with attempting to contain the face of Pittsburgh’s franchise,: quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.  

“You have to come at him under control,” Wilson said. “He has a lot of plays where he extends plays, and we’ve got to limit that. When we get a free runner on him or things like that, we’ve got to come under control and make the play.”

One thing that makes Roethlisberger so effective is his pair of outstanding wide receivers in Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. The receiving duo both earned Pro Bowl roster spots a season ago and Wilson said he expects the ball to be coming his way every play.

“They have a good group of wide receivers,” Wilson said. “It’s definitely a challenge for us, but I like the challenge we have this week. We’re going out there looking to win.”
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