Antonio Brown Is ‘A Different Guy’ This Season

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is coming off his first season as the top target for his team, during which he broke the Steelers’ single season record for receiving yards and was named to the All-Pro team (second team) for the first time in his career.

And according to his position coach, he doesn’t even look like the same player this year.

Second-year wide receivers coach Richard Mann talked about many of his players recently, highlighting many of the young and new additions to the roster, so perhaps his comments on the longest-tenured member may have gotten overlooked.

In case you missed it, here is what the experienced position coach had to say about Brown’s offseason heading into his fifth year in the league:

“I think he’s done a lot of things really well. He doesn’t really look like the same guy. He’s made a transition. He’s very confident. He’s matured. He understands the concepts. He’s smoother. His body language is different. He’s just a different guy. He’s matured a lot”.

In retrospect, this may not be so surprising.

Brown entered the 2013 facing questions after a disappointing debut as a full-time starter due to injuries in 2012.

Add to that the fact that he had always had the advantage of playing alongside Mike Wallace, who required extra attention, and there were legitimate concerns about the former sixth-round pick being able to rise to the occasion.

He did that and more, of course, becoming the first player in the history of the league to register five catches or more with at least 50 receiving yards in every game of a regular season.

His 110 receptions, 1499 receiving yards, and eight receiving touchdowns were all career-highs and netted him his second trip to the Pro Bowl in four years.

Yet the 2013 began slowly, with reports of Brown souring on the sidelines about his lack of targets during the first two games. His exceptional nine-catch, 196-yard, two-touchdown performance in Week Three was a bit of a turning point, in that sense.

2014 presents much more stability for the 26-year-old wide receiver. Mann was in his first season with the team a year ago, and the two had much to learn about one another.

Mann is an old-school, technical, fundamental type of coach, which was a change from the previous position coach who piloted the ‘Young Money Crew’, of which only Brown remains.

Now cemented in his status as the top target, in the third year of an offense likely increasing adjusted with him in mind, in his second year with Mann, and coming off quite a confidence-boosting season, it’s no surprise to hear that Brown, who works as hard as anybody, is kicking it into another gear for this upcoming season.

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Simon Cutts

    Now if he can just be convinced to ditch the first down shenanigans and only celebrate TDs lol

  • WilliamSekinger

    If Brown has an even higher gear than he was kicking last year then defenses beware! Love his attitude, and drive.

  • http://batman-news.com Ben5045

    My only concern is that if he performs like he did last year, there is a good chance hes going to ask for a new contract and he would deserve it. But, if he performs like he did last year than we can start talking about how we have the best receiver in the AFC North and get Bengals fans pissed off.

  • charles

    Few may agree here, but AB has some hints of a Jerry Rice type reciever. One catch last year stood out in particular, I think that it might have been the Detroit game, but he took a simple turn in route, and Ben had one of those 3sec dropback and release, Brown just blew by the secondary and scored untouched. I think Brown had 2 quick TDs in that game. Rice used to do that, I think they called it a look in route then, Rice would take 3-5 steps, look in, Montana would throw a perfect pass, Rice would catch it in stride and you were down by 7 just like that.

  • StrengthOfVictory

    Sure it’s a bit excessive at times, but I honestly think Brown does it in the face of his competition, not as a way of showboating for himself. Like a way of saying, “We’re coming, and you can’t stop us. You can’t stop me. Just try.” You’ll note he does it with more flair the more contested the catch he makes. (Not unlike the way, during a game of one-on-one, you repeat the score after every basket. Drives the point home.)

    If it gets in the head of AB’s competition, good. If it gets Brown more energized for the very next play, good. If it does nothing at all, then nothing is lost. Brown is an extremely hard-working receiver. Everyone knows that. He’s no TO or Dez Bryant diva type.

  • srdan

    I like the emotion and celebrating. This team needs more if it, especially in defense.

  • Caleb

    Just needs to grow his red zone game.

  • IckyD

    TO was a diva for sure, but his work ethic was never a question. He just always wanted the ball.

  • IckyD

    Jerry Rice once said he never forgot that he was an “afterthought” in the draft and that he felt like he had to win his place every year no matter what happened the year before.

    Seems like that worked out OK for him…

  • IckyD

    That kind of pass is unstoppable if properly executed…

    If Ben has a guy who plays like AB did last year every season, well…..

  • Axe Skot

    Taking it to the next next level