There are reasons why all of us aren't defensive coordinators in the NFL. We probably wouldn't be very good at it. But for those watching Monday night's Pittsburgh-Washington tilt, there was a fairly prevailing question when it came to the Redskins' defensive strategy that arose from all levels of the Monday morning quarterback crowd.
Why not have star cornerback Josh Norman follow Antonio Brown around instead of letting the Steelers match him up on Bashaud Breeland? Brown, in case you haven't spoken to that annoying person with the first pick in your fantasy draft yet today, caught eight passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns.
"Like I said, our faith is trusting coach (Joe) Barry, Coach Perry Fewell. That's why the guys brought me here," Norman told reporters after the 38-16 loss in Landover, Maryland. "Faith in me to do my job and not question one thing in the game plan."
"I think Breeland has done such a good job in training camp, and Breeland is one of our corners. "(He's) a good corner, and he got beat by a great player today and some great passes that I don't know what corner can defend. I'm not going to lose faith in Breeland, but there could be merit to that later on down the road."
While that's not an answer to the question, here are some facts that support our general confusion. According to a tweet from Pro Football Focus analyst Sam Monson on Monday, Brown caught eight of the nine passes thrown his way while Breeland was in coverage for 113 yards and two scores. On the plays he happened to be lined up on Norman? No catches and two passes defensed by Norman.
Breeland, for the record, is not a slouch. He is a fine No. 2 cornerback who could end up making some serious money this offseason as he enters the final year of his rookie deal in 2017. But when a team acquires a cornerback at the top of the market, it is almost always the expectation that he'll shadow the team's best wide receiver or at least play a heavy part in the game plan against him. The Steelers were actively trying to find Brown the best possible matchups, but just two one-on-one situations in 11 total targets feels like it was done on purpose.