When the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the New York Jets this Sunday for the right to represent the AFC in Super Bowl XLV, two former members of the Buffalo Bills organization will be playing key roles for the home team.
Jonathan Scott, who saw time at left and right tackle for the Bills during a miserable 2009 season and was subsequently allowed to leave via free agency, has spent the majority of his 2010 campaign playing left tackle for the Steelers, protecting Ben Roethlisberger's blind side. He has struggled in that role, but also brought a modicum of stability to a line that was hit hard by injuries early in the season. It also helps that he's protecting Roethlisberger, one of the best quarterbacks at avoiding the rush in the league.
Roethlisberger and three other Steelers quarterbacks were sacked 43 times during the regular season. That's actually an improvement over the 50 they allowed during a disappointing-by-Steelers-standards 9-7 2009 campaign, and the small degree of improvement the team has seen - with similar personnel - is credited to offensive line coach Sean Kugler. You might remember him as Buffalo's offensive line coach; Kugler replaced Jim McNally in that role when McNally retired after the 2007 season.
Scott and Kugler have their work cut out for them this weekend taking on a Jets defense that prides itself in being unpredictable and confusing in the manner in which it blitzes quarterbacks. In a December 19 meeting between these two teams - a game the Jets won in Pittsburgh - Roethlisberger was sacked three times, twice by cornerback Drew Coleman.