View Full Version : Steelers not about to take Browns lightly

10-09-2010, 03:04 AM
Pittsburgh Steelers Team Report

AFC North Standings


Baltimore 3 1 0 .750 61 55

Pittsburgh 3 1 0 .750 86 50

Cincinnati 2 2 0 .500 79 78

Cleveland 1 3 0 .250 68 77

Even with Ben Roethlisberger back for the Oct. 17 game against Cleveland after Pittsburgh takes a week off, the Steelers are not about to take the Browns lightly, despite going 3-1 without their franchise quarterback.

With Roethlisberger in the pocket last Dec. 10, Pittsburgh's offense could do little against the Browns in Cleveland and lost 13-6. It was the last of five losses in a row that knocked the Steelers out of playoff contention.

Now the Browns look improved, and they will have the Steelers' attention.

"That was the fifth straight game we lost," said linebacker James Farrior, Pittsburgh's defensive captain. "That was like the bottom of the barrel there. That was a big letdown. We hit the bottom. We didn't think we could get any lower. That was like the lowest of the lowest point."

The Steelers won their final three games that season to finish 9-7 and lost a playoff tiebreaker to Baltimore, then won the first three games this season before dropping their last one to the Ravens. They salvaged the beginning of the season without Roethlisberger and now seem primed to make a strong run through the next dozen games.

Roethlisberger looked sharp in the first two practices this week when he rejoined the team after a four-week suspension for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy. He was at the top of his game in the preseason and looks as though he's lost little during the layoff.

"Normally it takes awhile to get going out there, like a couple of weeks," Roethlisberger said, speaking of training camp. "But now I felt like it was good."

At 28, Roethlisberger is at his peak. He's coming off a season in which he shattered the Steelers' 30-year-old passing record set by Terry Bradshaw in 1979, when Bradshaw threw for 3,724 yards. Roethlisberger passed for 4,328 yards last season and now has four of the eight top passing seasons in Steelers history. Roethlisberger also owns the top four passer ratings seasons and top four completion percentages in team history, topped last season when he completed 66.6 percent of his passes.

His teammates are excited to have him back and believe their offense will be that much more effective.

"He was out there firing it left and right," wide receiver Hines Ward said. "It's great having him back. What's in the past is in the past. He did his time, he did his suspension. We're moving on and we're glad to have him back on our team.

"We're 3-1 right now and we're going to hand it over to him, let him do his thing and go out there and try to help him win ballgames."

The Steelers have run the ball reasonably well in those four games. Rashard Mendenhall has 411 yards rushing, a 4.6-yard average and four rushing touchdowns. As a whole, they've rushed for 534 yards and a 4.3-yard average.

The thing they've missed is a real threat throwing the ball. Charlie Batch did a nice job of that in the third game of the season, when they won at Tampa Bay, 38-13. Batch threw three touchdown passes that day, including ones of 41 and 46 yards to Mike Wallace.

But that's pretty much been it for the pass; they've averaged just 136 yards per game through the air.

"We tried to win games without him and now that he's back, we're certainly going to try to win games with him and we know he can come out and help us do that," wide receiver Antwaan Randle El said.

Besides the running game, another area of improvement on offense has been pass protection by the line. Quarterbacks Dennis Dixon and Batch were sacked nine times in four games. Roethlisberger was sacked 50 times in 15 games last season.

That line has a 60 percent new look since 2009. Rookie center Maurkice Pouncey replaced Justin Hartwig, who was released. Right tackle Flozell Adams replaced Willie Colon, lost for the season with an Achilles tendon injury. And over the past two games, Doug Legursky replaced Trai Essex at right guard. Legursky may remain the starter even as Essex recovers from his sprained ankle.


—The Steelers voted to decertify the NFL Players Association if NFL owners lock them out next year. DeMaurice Smith, NFLPA executive director, met with the players Tuesday at the team's headquarters.

—Pittsburgh has won six of its past eight games following a bye week. The Steelers last lost the game after their bye week in 2007, when they played at Denver. They also lost at San Diego in 2006. Last year, they won at Denver after their bye week.

This will be the first time the Steelers play at home after their bye week since 2004.

—The Steelers have averaged 64,169 fans in two games at Heinz Field. They set their all-time attendance record last season with an average of 63,458 fans per game.

—After practices this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the Steelers will have off until Monday.

—Ben Roethlisberger's 60-26 record as a starting quarterback is third among those in the NFL with a .698 percentage. Tom Brady is .766 at 98-30 and Philip Rives is .706 at 48-20.

BY THE NUMBERS: 563 — Victories in Steelers franchise history, fifth most in the NFL.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's kind of hard to teach a fast guy to slow down on the field." — WR Hines Ward on WR Mike Wallace, trying to explain to the second-year receiver that he cannot just run every route all-out.



—QB Ben Roethlisberger will take a personal 60-26 career record into his first game of the season, a .698 winning percentage topped only by Tom Brady and Philip Rivers among active quarterbacks.

—TE Heath Miller has just 10 receptions, on pace for 40, after he set the Steelers record for tight ends with 76 last season. That pace, though, should pick up with the return of QB Ben Roethlisberger.

—QB Charlie Batch was given all three practices off during the bye week after he played the final 2 3/4 games. He likely will be No. 2 ahead of Byron Leftwich at least for the next game.

—NT Chris Hoke, who missed the fourth game with a second-degree sprain of his right knee, did not practice during the bye week. The Steelers kept former practice-squad player Steve McLendon as the backup nose tackle on the 53-man roster while they had a roster exemption for QB Ben Roethlisberger.

—FS Ryan Clark is the third-leading tackler on the team with 31 and just two behind inside LB James Farrior. Clark signed a new contract in March to return to the team after becoming an unrestricted free agent.

—LB Stevenson Sylvester, a fifth-round draft pick this year, is tied for the special teams lead with four solo tackles. He also has the only forced fumble on special teams.

—WR Mike Wallace continues to have a high per-catch average after he led the NFL with an average of 19.4 yards last season, when he was a rookie. Wallace has a 23.4-yard average, although he only has nine receptions.

—WR Antwaan Randle El has been used in many ways since he rejoined the Steelers this year. He has six pass receptions as the No. 3 receiver and fielded 15 punts, seven of them fair catches. He also has lined up at quarterback and handed off twice.

—P Daniel Sepulveda has been superb through four games with a gross of 47.9 yards and a net of 40.5.

INJURY IMPACT: NT Chris Hoke (sprained MCL) and OG Trai Essex (sprained ankle) should be healthy for their next game, Oct. 17. DE Brett Keisel, who left last Sunday's game late with a leg cramp, is OK.

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football ... /notes.htm (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/steelers/notes.htm)

10-09-2010, 10:00 AM
The Browns are certainly better than their 1-3 record indicates. Heck, they beat Cincy with Senaca Wallace as their QB. And had a chance to win all four games. A pretty compelling argument could be made that they should/could be 3-1 right now. But none of those teams has the defensive prowess as the Steelers have shown thus far, which would negate a lot of what they do (running game). I suspect this will be close for a quarter, maybe even a half, but a comfortable win in the end. Of course, ask me in a week, and nervous negativity starts to kick in. :)

10-09-2010, 10:38 AM
Last week I proved that my prediction skills are completely lame.

I thought we had the rats from the get go. So, this game I predict:

I will get very pissed off at Brucey A for being predictable
I will be VERY glad that we have Ben back to bail Brucey's butt out again
I will hug sweaty men at the bar
I will be surprised at the play of Troy
I will continue the quiet debate in my mind about who we keep when Timmons and Wood
each ask for too much money and one will be released
I will vomit over the posts of some on this board after the game
I will wish once again that we could all be together for a game or two in someone's
man cave - just once.

Enjoy the build up and the game!!!!

10-09-2010, 03:08 PM
I sure hope they don't. We lost to these clowns last year - I'm not about to see that happen this year. :Beer

10-09-2010, 03:31 PM
The Browns are certainly better than their 1-3 record indicates. Heck, they beat Cincy with Senaca Wallace as their QB. And had a chance to win all four games. A pretty compelling argument could be made that they should/could be 3-1 right now. But none of those teams has the defensive prowess as the Steelers have shown thus far, which would negate a lot of what they do (running game). I suspect this will be close for a quarter, maybe even a half, but a comfortable win in the end. Of course, ask me in a week, and nervous negativity starts to kick in. :)

I live in Brown country and have seen all their games. Mangina has their attention and Holmgren has definitely put his stamp on this draft class. Make no mistake, this game will be as tough as the game last December. The Browns look at the Steelers' game as the yardstick for all others. They have been playing hard all season and I agree with proud, could easily be 3-1 right now. Another thing to think about, I don't believe this team will 'quit' in the 2nd half if we are up by a touch or two. They don't seem to have that mentality from the past.
For their defensive strategy, I think they will come after Ben hard. If he is unable to make them pay for the blitzing, it will be a long day. I don't think they have a CB that can cover Wallace and he could have a big day if Ben sees him. The other key in my opinion will be Miller. I don't think they have a MLB that can cover him, so I am hoping Ben can get him 4 or 5 touches. Their run defense even without Rogers is not half bad. They have a lot of young talent that is hungry and listening to the coaching staff. No one should believe THIS WILL BE A CAKEWALK. But in all honesty, after seeing years of uncompetitive play from the Browns, I am actually looking forward to the game this time around. I think if we liimit mistakes and penalties this should be at least a win by a touchdown. Special teams could also factor in with Cribbs returning the ball. He is also now playing a lot of WR but is more Hines-like than Wallace-like. I would also say that if we didn't have Ben returning, this game may be a toss-up. It should be an edge-of-your-seat game most of the afternoon.

go ben....

10-09-2010, 04:19 PM
Steelas....100-to zip


10-11-2010, 02:28 PM
Cleveland Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme re-injured ankle, now has both high and low sprain, source said

Published: Monday, October 11, 2010
Mary Kay Cabot, The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND -- Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme re-injured his ankle during Sunday's 20-10 loss to the Falcons and now has both a high and low right ankle sprain, a league source said.

Delhomme will undergo an MRI today and won't know how long he'll be out until after that, but it could be an extended period of time.

Delhomme first suffered the high ankle sprain in week one in Tampa and missed the next three games. He was expected to play Sunday, but was pressed into service when Seneca Wallace went down with a sprained ankle.

Delhomme had his ankle shot up with painkillers before the game just in case he had to play. He's in more pain today than he was on Sunday, the source said.

Delhomme seems to have re-injured the ankle on a 10-yard sack in the third quarter by Jamaal Anderson. The Browns might have to sign another quarterback soon depending on the severity of Wallace's sprain.


10-12-2010, 07:28 PM
Cleveland Browns have 7 positive thoughts heading into Pittsburgh

Published: Tuesday, October 12, 2010, 10:06 AM
Tony Grossi, The Plain Dealer


CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Something positive to keep Colt McCoy in a good frame of mind before he's fed to the wolves in Pittsburgh ...

• The one statistic that has kept the Browns in every game: Third in the NFL in red zone defense. They've yielded only four TDs in opponents' 14 trips inside the 20-yard line.

• The Browns are still the only team not to allow a touchdown on the ground. (OK, no cracks about the routine long TD passes behind the secondary.)

• The Browns haven't won in Pittsburgh since 2003 -- Tim Couch's last golden moment in a Browns uniform. (He won two more starts, but that was his last impressive game.) The good news is that none of the quarterbacks who have started for them in Pittsburgh since then will play Sunday. They were: Jeff Garcia (2004), Trent Dilfer (2005), Derek Anderson (2006, '07, '09), and Bruce Gradkowski (2008).

• Linebacker Marcus Benard has more sacks (3.5) than Pittsburgh's James Harrison (3.0), a former NFL defensive player of the year.

• Defensive end Kenyon Coleman's three fumble recoveries lead the league.

• The Browns have allowed only seven sacks in five games -- tied for seventh-fewest in the NFL.

• Josh Cribbs has three kickoffs returned for a TD against Pittsburgh. That matches the most ever by a player against a single opponent.

And there you have it. Seven reasons for McCoy to feel good about his first NFL start Sunday in Heinz Field.


10-13-2010, 02:37 PM
October 13, 2010 01:35 AM
Herald Standard

Questions, concerns about game

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Figuring out what the Cleveland Browns will do with a new quarterback is a concern. So is Joshua Cribbs running the Browns' wildcat offense. So is moving the Steelers offense out of last place in the NFL passing statistics.

How the fans will greet Ben Roethlisberger during his first regular-season game since being suspended? That's not much of a worry to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin.

Roethlisberger was greeted enthusiastically throughout training camp and the preseason. Tomlin doesn't expect that to change during Sunday's home game against Cleveland (1-4), especially since the Steelers are emerging from the quarterback's four-game suspension with a 3-1 record.

"We get so much energy from our fans, and we work hard to entertain and please them," Tomlin said Tuesday. "That really makes us go. I expect him to get a warm reception. I really do. I know we are excited to have him back."

Some Steelers fans promised months ago to jeer Roethlisberger after his off-field behavior led the NFL to suspend him, but there were no suggestions of fan backlash during two exhibition games and two regular season games.

With Roethlisberger about to play his first regular season game in nine months, the Steelers are weighing whether to introduce the offense before Sunday's game, rather than the defense, because they anticipate an enthusiastic response. Not only from the fans, but from the quarterback himself.

"He is a ridiculous competitor," Tomlin said. "When he has an opportunity to compete, you feel him in the room or the stadium. One of the interesting attributes about him as a player and as a person, when faced with adversity and given the opportunity to compete, man he does. I think guys feed off that."

What Tomlin didn't say is he hopes the Steelers' crowd does, too.

One of Tomlin's challenges is making sure his players don't assume the wins will arrive automatically now that their quarterback is under center again and the Steelers are close to being fully healthy. Tomlin only needs to remind them that Roethlisberger missed only one game during a five-game losing streak last season that ultimately prevented the Steelers from returning to the playoffs.

Although Roethlisberger might be expected to be rusty following such a long layoff, he threw regularly during his suspension. He'll also have two full weeks of practice going into the game, rather than one, because of last week's bye.

"It looks like he is rested," Tomlin said. "He's had a good week of practice. Good practice puts you in position to take advantage of opportunities that present themselves on game days. I'm sure there will be some anxiety, some excitement and nervousness that comes with playing after an extended period of time off. I'm sure he'll quickly get through that."

Although Tomlin wouldn't confirm it, Charlie Batch is expected to be Roethlisberger's backup after starting against Tampa Bay and Baltimore. Byron Leftwich still hasn't played since spraining the medial collateral ligament in his left knee Sept. 2 against Carolina.

With the Browns' Jake Delhomme and Seneca Wallace injured, rookie Colt McCoy is expected to make his first NFL start. Going against the Steelers' defense in Heinz Field isn't the easiest way to begin a career, but Tomlin suggested the Steelers won't prepare any differently for a rookie quarterback than they did for the Ravens' Joe Flacco two weeks ago.

"Those are their issues, like our quarterback issues have been ours," he said.

http://www.heraldstandard.com/news_deta ... rowns.html (http://www.heraldstandard.com/news_detail/article/1636/2010/october/13/steelers-vs-browns.html)