The New York Jets are practicing this week with the intent to use cornerback Antonio Cromartie against Pittsburgh Steelers speedy receiver Mike Wallace in this Sunday's AFC Championship Game, according to a league source.
The Jets, who used a similar approach with Cromartie in their 22-17 win over the Steelers in Week 15, will match Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis against veteran wideout Hines Ward. Revis is tasked with sticking to Ward on crossing and intermediate routes.
The Jets typically use a full dose of man coverage, but the deep threat presented by Wallace, along with wideouts Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown, could lead to the team employing a safety over the top against the Steelers, based on down and distance.
A single-coverage approach also allows for more defensive backs in New York's blitzing schemes.
Pittsburgh's offensive line is nicked up and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was hit and sacked frequently last week in the Steelers' win over the Baltimore Ravens. Jets coach Rex Ryan, who helped develop the Ravens' aggressive approach on defense when he served as the team's coordinator from 2005-08, could use a similar scheme.