Sunday, January 23, 2011

Ex-Jet will set the tone for Steelers on Sunday

Though Jets receiver Santonio Holmes is the highest profile former member of one of the AFC finalists now playing for the other one, the Steelers have one, too.

Linebacker James Farrior, a top-ten draft pick of the Jets way back in 1997, bolted for the ‘Burgh in 2002, after five so-so seasons in New York.

Nine seasons later, Farrior has become, as coach Mike Tomlin describes it, the “unquestioned leader” of the team.  “He sets the tone for this outfit,” Tomlin told Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

It’s strong statement for a team that includes men like Hines Ward, Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, and Ben Roethlisberger.  On Sunday, Farrior will be the one to send the team onto the field to face his old team.

He’s not getting the assignment because the Steelers are facing the Jets.  It’s Farrior’s normal duty.

“I never know what I’m going to say until I get in front of them,” Farrior told Cook.  “It always comes from the heart.”

Regardless of what he says before the games, Farrior spoke about the things that he and his teammates plan to do.  “I don’t think we got enough pressure on [quarterback Mark Sanchez],” Farrior said, speaking of the Week 15 home loss to the Jets.  “That is going to be the key to this game, getting pressure on him and forcing him into third-and-long situations and making him win the game.”

The Steelers wouldn’t be playing this game if they hadn’t beaten the Ravens last week.  And it was Farrior who helped give the Steelers a much-needed kick in the ass while they were trailing Baltimore by two scores at halftime, 21-7.

“What the hell is going on with you guys?” Farrior barked after sensing a mood in the locker room that he didn’t like.  “It’s too quiet in here.   This is the [bleeping] playoffs.  Now let’s go play Steelers football!”

They did in the second half of last week’s game.  If they do it again tonight, they’ll be back in the Super Bowl for the third time in six seasons.

author: Mike Florrio

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