Philadelphia Eagles News

Steelers Playmakers Provide A Challenge

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After opening the season with a 2-0 record, the Eagles are preparing to face their biggest challenge yet. On Sunday the Eagles will host the Pittsburgh Steelers for their first meeting since 2012, a game the Steelers won at Heinz Field by a score of 16-14. This time around, the Steelers are coming off of a 24-16 divisional win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

With the Steelers comes top receiver Antonio Brown and running back threat DeAngelo Williams. Week 2 was quiet for Brown, as he caught just four passes for 39 yards, bringing him to 12 receptions for 165 yards and two touchdowns on the season. Meanwhile, Williams has led the way on the ground for Pittsburgh's rushing pack with an average of 4.1 yards per carry.

The talent that Brown and Williams bring to the table is something every defense prepares for, and the Eagles are no exception.

"Well, you've got to know where (Brown's) at," said Doug Pederson. "You see what they have done with him, moving him around the field in different spots. Single him up; put him in bunch packages; stack packages.

"One thing (Steelers offensive coordinator) Todd (Haley) does well is he moves his personnel around and he takes advantage of that. He knows what he has. You need to know where (Brown) is at, but they've got some explosive guys on offense that I think if you put all your attention to one guy, another one can beat you. You have got to pay attention to all those guys."

"(Pittsburgh's offense) is a big threat," added Fletcher Cox. "This will be the most complete team that we'll play this year."

Slowing down both Brown and Williams can be a daunting task, but it's what the Eagles are faced with on Sunday.

"You prepare for them both the same because they're both explosive," said Brandon Graham. "They both can beat you individually. Antonio Brown is one of those guys that we're going to have to really handle him for sure. We can't get DeAngelo Williams started as far as the run and we can kind of monitor that a little more than Antonio Brown because he's outside and we have to make sure we get to Ben Roethlisberger and that's number one."

For veteran Malcolm Jenkins, his job at the safety position will put a larger emphasis on keeping Brown under control.

"You got to keep him in front of you and when he's in front of you, you got to tackle him," Jenkins said. "He's a great route runner. He's got speed and he can get behind the defense. If you play too soft he's a hard tackle in the open field.

"The biggest thing is you got to make him earn it all the way down the field. You can't give him a quick one over the top, and when he does get those short passes whether it's a screen or just a short to intermediate route you got to tackle him and limit the yards after the catch."

With Leodis McKelvin still dealing with a hamstring injury, rookie Jalen Mills could once again see extensive time against the Steelers. While he's never guarded Brown before, he knows he has to take the same approach he's used all year into Sunday's game.

"One play at a time," Mills said. "We have to play each and every down like it's the first down." 

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