The regular season is here, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the real work is now upon us, there is plenty left to be done.
And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they wade through a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.
Question: Game Edition – who has a bigger impact on the game for their team: Antonio Brown or Odell Beckham, Jr.?
Today’s game is going to feature two of the most talented wide receivers in the game today, one on either side of the ball, both with All-Pro designations in their past, as well as in their future. The Steelers boast seventh-year veteran Antonio Brown, who leads the league in receptions and receiving touchdowns, while the Giants are bringing with them to Heinz Field Odell Beckham, Jr., a former first-round draft pick who has gotten off to a start line none other at the wide receiver position based on his per-game production.
Brown—or Ronald—has caught 82 passes for 998 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season. Beckham, meanwhile, has caught 65 passes for 915 yards and eight touchdowns. Beckham had two touchdowns on his last game, while Brown is coming off his first game with three receiving touchdowns, so they are both riding hot hands.
And both of them similarly account for a fairly disproportionately high workload in terms of percentage of touches and productivity when it comes to the receiving game, relative to how the ball gets distributed through the air by other teams.
But both have also shown capable to be hot and cold this year. Twice, Brown has posted a stat line of four catches for 39 yards. Beckham has been under 50 yards three times, including one game in which he caught just three passes for 23 yards.
Both wide receivers have caught five touchdown passes within their last four games. Both have caught at least 10 passes in a game once in that span. But Brown’s production has been a bit more consistent over that span, gaining at least 76 yards in each game.
With either player, but especially with Beckham, however, you know that any time he touches the ball, it can make the difference. Five of his 20 explosive catches have come on short passes. Oh, and did I mention that both of them are returning punts now? Beckham looked pretty deadly on two returns that were called back last week. Both talents should have plenty of opportunities to make a difference in this game.