This week’s opponent – Pittsburgh Steelers
Well that didn’t take long – only 6 weeks into the season and we finally (as it looks now) get to see the “QB of the future” in Colt McCoy – who, by the way, was supposed to sit and learn this year and ideally not play at all this season. Well, as we have seen time and time again here in Cleveland, all good plans get thrown out the window sooner or later. Good luck Colt, I know if I were to be coaching, I’d hope your first game would have been against a team, like say, the Buffalo Bills and not the Steelers…
Moving along, Pittsburgh has been a force on defense this season, holding opponents to just over 2.5 yards a carry – hey Peyton Hillis, it may be a good week to be on the bench. However, Hillis provides one of our best chance for a W. What else is there to say about their defense? Year in and year out Pittsburgh has a tremendous defense, and this year’s club is no exception.
Now to the big news out of the steel city – QB Ben Roethlisberger returns, after serving his 4-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. It has been a merry-go-round of sorts for the Steelers at QB, but the team is off to a 3-1 start nonetheless. Roethlisberger’s return should make things more clear for the Steelers on offense; in weeks past it seemed that their offensive identity had been lost. WRs Mike Wallace and Hines Ward should be the biggest beneficiaries of Roethlishberger’s return. In addition, RB Rashard Mendenhall has been off to a nice start and has been averaging over 100 yards per game in the absence of Roethlisberger.
So it seems like the cards are stacked up against the Browns this week, but a victory is not impossible. The first thing the Browns will need to do in order to win is take advantage of opportunities on defense. Roethlishberger hasn’t played a meaningful game in about 10 months, so he is bound to be a bit rusty and the Browns D will have to be ready when opportunity presents itself.
Secondly, the Browns coaches will have to ease the pressure on Colt McCoy in any way possible – the best one (if I may suggest) is to use Josh Cribbs in the Flash/Wildcat/whatever-you-want-to-call-it-formation. And please, don’t have Cribbs run EVERY time he is in that formation, let him pass it a few times to spice things up and keep Pittsburgh’s defense at bay. The Browns will also have to get some production out of RB Peyton Hillis in order to win – last year it was Chris Jennings who aided the Browns to victory. Unfortunately, Hillis will be a one-man show in all likelihood now that Jerome Harrison has been shipped out. Any help that RBs Mike Bell and James Davis can provide will be gravy, but much-needed.