Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gerry Dulac Breaks Down the 119th Meeting of the Teams

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Gerry Dulac Breaks Down the 119th Meeting of the Teams

Article excerpt

When the Browns have the ball: The Browns have revamped their offense with four rookies, including QB Brandon Weeden and RB Trent Richardson. Weeden is big and stands in the pocket but, like a lot of rookies, has been inconsistent. He has the second-lowest completion percentage in the AFC (55.3) despite playing in a West Coast-style offense that emphasizes shorter passes. The Browns have tried to stretch the field more with deep passes, especially to rookie WR Josh Gordon. That has made Greg Little more of a possession receiver. The offense, though, revolves around Richardson, who leads the team in rushing (670) and receiving (37 catches). The player who has been de-emphasized is Joshua Cribbs, who has only eight touches on offense. Pro Bowl LT Joe Thomas might be the best in the league and has always played well against James Harrison.

When the Steelers have the ball: The Browns rank 24th against the rush and 22nd against the pass in the league, but they are hoping their run defense will improve by having both tackles, Phil Taylor and Ahtyba Rubin, back in the lineup. They played together for the first time this season last week against Dallas. That should help take some of the attention away from former Pitt DE Jabal Sheard, who is tied for the team lead with three sacks. DE Frostee Rucker moves inside when the Browns use their nickel package. Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron has tried to improve the speed at linebacker by moving rookie James-Michael Johnson and Kaluka Maiava into the starting lineup. Part of that was necessitated by season-ending injuries to Scott Fujita and Chris Gocong. The secondary is without CB Joe Haden, who has missed four games because of a league suspension and another with injury. The Browns have allowed 11 touchdown passes in the five games without Haden. The other corner, Sheldon Brown, needs help in deep coverage. But the Steelers will be without WR Antonio Brown (ankle), and QB Charlie Batch will make his first start since 2010 after injuries to Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich.

WR Josh Gordon ... He is one of four rookies who start on offense and has brought something the Browns haven't had since Braylon Edwards -- a deep threat. …

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