Even though the Steelers have gotten off to a slow start, the battle between the NFL‘s two Pennsylvania-based squads is highly anticipated due to the star power on each team, from the players on up to the coaching staff.
There will be countless factors that contribute to the ultimate outcome of this contest, but there is one match-up that I will be specifically focused on.
Steelers’ wide receivers Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown vs. Eagles’ cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
The way I see it, there are not many other two-on-two WR/CB pairings in the NFL that equal the talent existing in this match-up. Possessing two dominant players at the same position is incredibly rare in the NFL, so when these types of duos are slated against each other, fans are really in for a treat.
Wallace and Brown are each primarily reliant on one factor. Speed.
Both Steelers wide-outs are absolute burners.
Neither player was very highly-touted when coming into the draft, but head coach Mike Tomlin and the Steelers’ organization knew exactly what they were doing when acquiring them both. Sometimes raw talent outweighs production in a player’s younger years, being that route-running and on-field decision making can be coached. But speed can not be.
Asomugha, Rodgers-Cromartie and the Eagles’ secondary have gotten off to a disappointing start this season, as they have not been able to keep most quarterbacks contained.
New York Giants’ QB Eli Manning put up 300+ passing yards against them just last week, while Arizona Cardinals’ QB Kevin Kolb thrashed them with over 200 yards passing in just the first half of Week 3. The only real success the Eagle’s passing defense had came in Week 1 when matched-up against Cleveland Browns’ rookie QB Brandon Weeden in his NFL debut.
It is not time to panic yet in Philly, but if the absurdly high-paid Asomugha and the young phenom Rodgers-Cromartie can not keep tabs on these Steelers receivers, some concern may start to surface.
It is common knowledge that the patience of Eagles fans is forever limited.
And if this tandem can not pick up their play this weekend, questions will start to linger about the true value of Asomugha’s big contract and Rodgers-Cromartie’s high-stakes trade.
It will certainly not be an easy assignment defending Wallace and Brown, as both receivers have yet to be shutdown this season. Brown has not been held below 74 receiving yards all season, while Wallace has yet to be kept out of the end-zone with 3 touchdowns in each of the Steelers’ 3 games.
All I know is that Asomugha and Rodgers-Cromartie better strap on their “PF Flyers” against this wide receiver duo, or they are going to be in for a long afternoon.
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