The Pittsburgh Steelers are getting ready for the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns have a huge task next Sunday, as the Browns take on the Steelers on Halloween. On a day known for the spooks and scares, the Browns are hoping to avoid a horror movie of a situation by getting the win. The 4-3 Brownies have been besieged by injuries and with the AFC North actually the best division in football this year (yeesh, those Bengals are dangerous), there is no way Cleveland can get to the playoffs if they don’t play well against their divisional foes.
The Steelers are limping this year, and are prime for a whooping. The Steelers’ offense is a long way from being elite and the team is largely being carried by their defense. Any other week, the Browns would be the heavy favorite and would probably roll them, but the Browns have something like half of their lineup on the injury list. So the Browns are severely undermanned. Not to mention that some of the healthy players are struggling or underperforming, and you can see how this very winnable game is now in doubt.
These are five players who need to up their game to help give the Browns a chance at a victory.
Five players who need to step up against the Steelers
Despite being a fill-in, Blake Hance has got to do better against the pass rush. Especially if Jack Conklin isn’t back for Pittsburgh. I like Hance, but T.J. Watt is the best defensive player in the league right now, while Von Miller doesn’t look the same since his peroneal tendon injury. Hance will be challenged all day if he gets the nod. He has got to up his game.
Where oh where have you gone? Odell Beckham is on his third quarterback since his last Pro Bowl season. Either he’s only ever played with awful quarterbacks or Beckham isn’t the star he once was. Beckham has made zero impact and you can cite the offense, the now (and new) nagging shoulder injuries, but he’s been highly ineffective. The increase of dropped passes from his already pretty bad average of dropping passes is not helping him either.
Shockingly, Greedy Williams is one of our better corners, Grant Delpit? One of our worse safties. Playing in more than half of the defensive snaps on Thursday, Delpit showed a shocking inability to cover guys. Considering how poor Denver’s offense is, the fact that stayed in the game as long as they did is concerning on multiple levels, but watching Delpit blow his assignments will come back to haunt Cleveland against better teams. Which are on the horizon.
For some reason, fans think “well, he’s the best we got” is a reason to not hold people responsible for their poor play. So let’s be clear, he is the best defensive tackle the Browns have. It’s also a horrible thing to hear out loud, considering how bad the “best” on the team has been playing. Racking up only a 53.7 on PFF, McDowell has started to fall off in recent weeks and has only really seen big stats against bad offensive lines. Malick Jackson isn’t too far behind and Andrew Billings has proven that signing him was ill-advised.
If Denzel Ward signs a four-year, $25 million deal in the offseason, that’d be great. If he wants anything else, let him walk. Ward is playing like garbage as of late. Let’s be clear, the standards are just different for a guy like Ward. He’s supposed to be our ace-corner. You can argue that he’s playing so bad because he’s playing against the opposing team’s wide receiver, but I’ll counter with “that’s his job and he’s not doing it”. He’s not bad, but he’s been injured far too often and he’s become a walking penalty over the last few weeks. He’s got to be better than a 67 on PFF as the top corner. Greedy Williams has outperformed him mightly and if you’re not the best guy at your position, you shouldn’t be getting paid like you are. Chase Claypool is itching to get back at the Browns and Ward is going to need to step up to help slow him down.