Brown isn't sweating potential Norman matchup


ANOTHER FACE IN THE CROWD:** The Redskins may or may not opt to have All-Pro CB Josh Norman follow All-Pro WR Antonio Brown all over the field on Monday night.
But Brown is neither anticipating nor eagerly awaiting such a matchup.

"I'm excited to see whoever's out there." Brown said. "Whoever's going to line up, I'm ready to see him. Whoever they want to line up, I'll be ready for the challenge."

Brown said he doesn't remember the last time a defense tried such a scheme against him because he doesn't pay close enough attention to opposing personnel.

"I don't line up looking who a guy is," Brown said. "I line up reading the schemes and trying to execute the plays.

"When I'm out there everyone is nameless, grey faces. My job is to be the best."

BEEN THERE, DONE THAT: One of the reasons the Steelers believe CB Justin Gilbert can assimilate quickly after being acquired on Sept. 3 from Cleveland is CB Stephon Tuitt successfully navigated such a transition last season.

"We were able to infuse Ross into our environment and get him up to speed, and he's been a very productive player for us," head coach Mike Tomlin observed. "Hopefully, the same thing happens with Justin."

Cockrell was signed on Sept. 5, 2015 after he'd been released by Buffalo on Aug. 31.

He made his Steelers' debut on Sept. 20 against San Francisco and wound up appearing in 15 regular-season games (starting seven) and both playoff games.

"It starts off first with favor," Cockrell said. "Obviously the coaches brought him in, they like him, they see the talent he has. And then for him, he has to come in and it's a full day every day.

"It's one of those things where you're the first one in, the last one out. You gotta try to pick up the defense and then pick up on the film work, as well, it's non-stop."
Cockrell's first impression of Gilbert has been a positive one.

"I haven't spent too much time around him yet but he's come in, he's been humble, he's been willing to work and that's the first step right there," Cockrell said.

Gilbert's talent and potential have been apparent since before the 2014 draft in Cockrell's estimation.

"My first time interacting with him was at the (NFL Scouting) combine when we were coming out," Cockrell said. "I could see it then, that he was going to be the first corner taken in our draft.

"I'm glad he's a part of the team."      


The Steelers prepare for the regular season Week 1 matchup against the Washington Redskins.

TIGHT END DILEMMA:** The Steelers have had periodic issues with opposing tight ends in recent seasons, including last season.

New England's Rob Gronkowski (five catches, 94 yards, three TDs), San Diego's Antonio Gates (9-92-2) and Cleveland's Gary Barnidge (6-65-1 on Nov. 15) all found the end zone in games against the Steelers in 2015.

That's something TE Jordan Reed did with regularity for the Redskins last season while leading Washington in receptions (87), receiving yards (952) and receiving touchdowns (11) in the regular season. He accounted for nine catches, 120 yards and a touchdown in the playoffs against Green Bay.

"Quite frankly, it's going to require a number of schematic approaches and personnel approaches to minimize his impact on the game," Tomlin observed.

Steelers OT Marcus Gilbert played with Reed at Florida in 2009-10 and appreciates the challenge for the defense confronting Reed presents.

"He's so dynamic," Gilbert said. "He's one of those guys, he runs the routes as well as your best receiver on any team. So he's a matchup nightmare for any of the linebackers or any of the safeties that try to cover him.

"The guy has tremendous hands, good hips, good moves. I don't know if they use him in the blocking game as much but I know he's a hell of a route runner and a catcher. He torched a lot of defenses at Florida. He's a special talent.

"I know our guys have an extra day to prepare for him but as far as seeing any tight ends like that, there aren't many like that across this league. He's a dangerous threat."
Added defensive coordinator Keith Butler: "I don't think you;re going to completely shut him out. We're just going to try to keep him from killing us."

DOUBLE NICKEL: Butler wouldn't commit to using rookie CB/S Sean Davis as the No. 1 nickel back in the five-defensive backs "nickel" defense against the Redskins.
"We'll look at a couple guys," Butler said. "It could be Sean. It could be (CB) William Gay, we'll see."

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