Manny Benton often tweets random thoughts regarding the Washington Redskins at random times of the day that typically bring interesting dialog. Now from Monday through Thursday at around 9 a.m., you can find those Twitter-sized thoughts in "Morning Manny." Complete with explanations!
Week One is less about game plan and more about playing your brand of football:
Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, speaking with the Redskins media on Wednesday, made a good point about season openers. Perhaps more than any other week, the primary key is not beating yourself.
"I think the first game is less about the people that you play and more about you doing you, us being detail-oriented from an assignment standpoint, playing hard, communicating well, not being highly penalized," Tomlin said.
The former Super Bowl winning coach is completely right. There's a bit of ignorance involved in the first game of a season. It's easy for opposing teams to study last year's film, but there's always new players and new wrinkles. It really comes down to playing your brand of football. For the Redskins, on paper, their brand is to pass and stop the pass. At least, that's the way their team is built. If they try to be something else, it will likely be to their detriment.
The headline matchup in this game is CB Josh Norman vs WR Antonio Brown. Of course, it's unlikely that Norman will shadow the All-Pro WR. But either way, the Steelers aren't worried. Their only concern is to play their brand of football.
"We don’t care because we don’t have any control over that," Tomlin said on whether Norman will track Brown. "We try not to waste time worrying about things that are outside of our control. They’ll determine how they utilize Josh and his talents and we will adjust.”
This is also a big game for Washington QB Kirk Cousins. Many point to the fact Cousins has never beaten a perceived "big time" quarterback. This week, Cousins will have to face a potential Hall of Famer in Ben Roethlisberger, which could be a status verification to some. But coach Tomlin isn't overlooking what the fifth-year QB has already accomplished.
“I don’t know what people are looking for," Tomlin said. "He threw for over 4,000 yards and over 25 touchdowns. The last six games of the season his quarterback rating was over 100. He needs no endorsement from me.”
In a way, Tomlin is right. Cousins did enough last year to earn some level of respect. Yet, there is a level of skepticism out there. He has to rise the occasion against playoff caliber opponents and that starts this week.
While the Steelers aren't the pass defense they used to be, they still have a core identity. They're an explosive offense and their defense plays with a blue collar mentality. It will be important for the Redskins to establish their brand of football in this game.
You can find Emmanual on Twitter @manny_benton.
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