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Morning Manny: Redskins tackle Steelers, but can they tackle Ben Roethlisberger?

Manny Benton breaks down the top five battles to watch when the Washington Redskins face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.

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! 

Everyone vs. Antonio Brown:

  • The marquee matchup many will break down when the Redskins face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night is wide receiver Antonio Brown versus cornerback Josh Norman. But the reality is that it's unlikely Washington's prized free agent pickup will go one-on-one exclusively against the explosive Brown. He is a unique player who lines up at every receiver spot and even in the backfield sometimes. Not to mention, he returns punts. It will take a total team effort to defend Brown. 

Redskins pass rush vs. Ben Roethlisberger:

  • As Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry discussed last week (see below), Roethlisberger is one of the most difficult quarterbacks to bring down in the entire league. Even if the Redskins are unable to do that, creating pressure will be key. Pressure that's not necessarily designed, especially. If you blitz Big Ben, he will exploit it. If you leave him a clean pocket, he'll pick you apart regardless of who is playing receiver for him. I expect outside linebacker Preston Smith to lead the charge against second-year starting left tackle Alejandro Villanueva.

“I think the No. 1 thing with him is that he’s such a big body back there. He’s a big man to come in and tackle. We talk about – and every time I’ve ever gone against him – the thing that we preach is you want to tackle the ball, you don’t necessarily want to tackle him. Because he’s been doing it for however long – 12 or 13 years. He’s proven he’s tough to tackle just because he’s so big. Especially you see undersized linebackers or DBs literally just fall off him and bounce off him. ...Tough man to bring down.” -- Barry on Roethlisberger.

DeSean Jackson vs. Steelers Cornerbacks:

  • I imagine that the Steelers will use their athletic inside linebackers to help cover dynamic tight end Jordan Reed. While Reed could still have some success, I think Jackson will take advantage of the Steelers' weak defensive backs group. The receiver is destined for a big season, and it will start Monday night.

Washington's defensive line vs. DeAngelo Williams:

  • The Redskins are fortunate that star running back Le'Veon Bell is out on suspension. However, his backup isn't too shabby of a replacement. Williams gained more than 1,200 yards last season while scoring 11 touchdowns. Washington must find a way to stop him from creating explosive plays. It will all start up front on the defensive line, which appears to be a weakness heading into the season. It's uncertain if nose tackle Kedric Golston will play, but even if he does, stopping Williams will be a tough feat for Washington. 

Jay Gruden vs. Mike Tomlin:

  • At the end of the day, I think the team that is best coached from a schematic and a discipline standpoint will win this game. The Washington Redskins can't afford to make costly penalties, and Gruden must establish his brand of football. Washington's perceived weakness on offense is running the ball. It will be interesting to see if Gruden tries to force that script or admit that his group is a pass-first team. 

You can find Emmanual on Twitter @manny_benton.

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