Cleveland Browns: Week 1 Predictions Against Pittsburgh Steelers

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 21: DeShone Kizer
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 21: DeShone Kizer /
4 of 6

3. Safety Jabrill Peppers makes a huge play in the return game and appears on offense

One thing that Browns coaches knew about safety Jabrill Peppers was that his return game needed little work. Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor was ecstatic when the team drafted Peppers, as many remember his reaction when head coach Hue Jackson told him about the pick (reaction at 2:20 mark).

Flashes of Peppers’ athleticism and pure excitement with the ball in his hands have already been seen this preseason. He had a big punt return against the New York Giants in Week 2 of the preseason, as well as a nice interception return against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 3. Looking back at his college tape, these highlights are a sign of things to come for the rookie.

The Browns are going to need to do everything perfectly if they want to have a chance of beating the Steelers this weekend. That includes great blocking on all returns to give Peppers a chance to make a big play. As one of the best playmakers already on the team, it would not be a surprise to see an extra focus placed on returns to give Peppers a chance to make a game-changing play.

Going along with doing everything perfectly, the Browns are also going to have to throw some curveballs at the Steelers. This would likely mean seeing a splash of Peppers on offense. Coach Jackson mentioned as recently as Aug. 14 that there will be a role for the safety on offense.

"“He can do some things. If he gets the ball in his hands, he is probably going to score because he has that kind of skill, once the ball touches his hands,” Jackson said."

A little bit of trickery to get the ball into the hand of Peppers, who Jackson evidently considers to be a dynamic playmaker, could be done to help the Browns stay in the game.