ASHBURN, Va. — Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry says the team “felt comfortable with our plan” to have Bashaud Breeland cover Steelers wideout Antonio Brown more than $75 million cornerback Josh Norman did in Washington’s Week 1 loss to Pittsburgh.
Barry offered an explanation of sorts on Thursday, saying “it’s hard for the other three or four DBs to get lined up” if one corner is assigned to always cover a particular receiver, no matter where that receiver is lined up.
If instead of keeping Norman on one particular half of the field, for example, the Redskins’ most significant offseason acquisition were told to always line up across from Brown, according to Barry: “It is hard for the other guys to get lined up in a timely matter, especially in a no-huddle offense with the tempo.”
Brown beat Breeland for two touchdowns, including one on a fourth-and-1 play. The wideout teamed with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for a total of eight catches for 126 yards in Pittsburgh’s 38-16 victory.
Asked about the possibility of switching things up during the game, Barry replied: “To coordinate that in a game plan is difficult. I’ve never been able to do that. I’ve never been (one) to do something like that on the sidelines.”
Some of the league’s best cornerbacks will “travel” during the course of a game — in other words, shift which side of the field they begin plays on, depending on where an opponent’s top receiver lines up.
Norman, for his part, shrugged off the topic, essentially saying that he just does what he’s told to do.
“I think ‘traveling’ or not ‘traveling,’ one side or the other side, who really cares, man? Let’s just get the job done. Whoever gets the job done, so be it, man. All this talk about this guy matches up with that guy, who really freakin’ cares?” Norman said.
“You come out with a ‘W,’ you win the game, and all that is hogwash. So that’s what people talk about and it is what it is. We as players, of course, want to go up against each other because our competitive egos are through the roof. It’s just one of those things that comes with the territory.”
The question for Washington (0-1) entering Sunday’s game against visiting Dallas (0-1) is whether Norman might be assigned more often to cover Cowboys star Dez Bryant.
“I want the challenge, just like he wants the challenge,” Bryant said. “It’s going to be a fun game Sunday. Mutual respect from each other. We’re just going to go out there and put on a good game. It’s not about me or him. It’s about each other’s team.”
AP Sports Writer Schuyler Dixon in Frisco, Texas, contributed.
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