The Pittsburgh Steelers are out of Latrobe and back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, also referred to as the South Side Facility. We are already into the regular season, where everything is magnified and, you know, actually counts. The team is working through the highs and lows and dramas that go through a typical Steelers season.
How are the rookies performing? What about the players that the team signed in free agency? Who is missing time with injuries, and when are they going to be back? What are the coaches saying about what they are going to do this season that might be different from how it was a year ago?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: How will Antonio Brown fare against William Jackson III in this latest meeting?
In two games against the Bengals last season, Antonio Brown was targeted seven times when facing William Jackson III as the primary player in coverage. He did not catch any of those passes, four of which were defended by the cornerback.
The Bengals historically have done a much better job than most teams of defending the All-Pro wide receiver. Before Jackson, Adam Jones often did a very good job against Brown. That’s not to say that the Bengals have always been able to keep him down as a team, but specific cornerbacks have been able to stand toe-to-toe with him.
Is Jackson the latest player who will give Brown fits? Neither of them are actually playing their best right now, though the latter does have five touchdown receptions. Jackson has given up 18 receptions on 30 targets for 229 yards and two touchdowns so far, according to Pro Football Focus, with four passes defensed and no interceptions, though he is coming off his best game.
Brown is also coming off his best game, in which he caught six passes for 102 yards and two touchdowns, including a 47-yard touchdown that stands as his longest play of the season to date. Are both of them rounding into form just in time for their meeting against one another?
Jackson is certainly not going to hold Brown without a catch forever. Facing a 4-1 Bengals team that has a two-game advantage in the win column, the Steelers need to consistently beat everybody who the Bengals line up against him this Sunday.