Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Big week to check on improvements

You could make the argument that the Browns cost a couple of Steelers coaches their jobs in 2009 and very nearly cost offensive coordinator Bruce Arians his as well.

Josh Cribbs had a 98-yard kickoff return against the Steelers at Pittsburgh last season, one of four kickoff returns for touchdowns allowed by the Steelers.

It was obvious that special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky wasn't coming back after a season of lowlights.

But the low point for offensive line coach Larry Zierlein and Arians came in a 13-6 loss in December at Cleveland.

In a driving wind and temperatures that were well below freezing, the Steelers ran the ball just 22 times for 74 yards.

And quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was sacked eight times in a game plan that was obviously not adjusted to account for the weather.

That loss was the final one in a five-game losing streak for the Steelers, who won their final three games to finish at 9-7.

But the damage was done - at least for Ligashesky and Zierlein.

The were replaced by Al Everest and Sean Kugler, respectively, while Arians got a reprieve with the promise to run the ball more often.

We've seen the early results in the first four games, but Cleveland will offer some challenges this week, particularly for Everest, with Josh Cribbs.

Three of Cribbs' eight career kickoff returns for touchdowns have come against the Steelers. And he's just missed scoring on a couple of other occasions.

The Browns are not a good football team. But, as we saw last season, when you give up big plays on special teams or allow an all-out assault on your quarterback, you can lose to anyone.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

While I agree 'any given Sunday...' etc, Josh Cribbs' effect on returns can be neutralized quite easily: Don't kick it to him.

Anonymous said...

This brings to mind a good theoretical question: would you accept another loss to the Browns if it means Bruce Arians gets fired? I'd have to think about it.

Chris said...

given the quarterback situation over the first four weeks, what aspect(s) of the offense were you anonymously unhappy with?

Anonymous said...

I'm confident about this game. I think the Browns are much more competitive this year, but their QB situation this week, playing against our defense, is a disaster for them. Special teams, turnovers, penalties: don't totally wet the bed in these areas and we'll win.


Why not just eliminate anonymous posting, to spare the "non"-anonymous people their annoyance with our anonymous-ness and the anonymous people their annoyance with being somehow annoying by not having a virtual identity?

datruth4life said...

Dale,

I saw where Tomlin said he doesn't know who will return punts and kickoffs this week. Is he just saying this so that E. Sanders and A. Brown will concentrate that much more in practice this week to get a hat or is he serious?

A. Brown is the 2nd most explosive player on this offense and the best kick and punt returner that this team has had since a very young Randle-El. I'd also like to see A. Brown in more 3 and 4 wide WR formations. Thoughts?

Anonymous said...

What Im hearing about ESaunders and ABrown, is that they dont know the 'hot reads' and varous other small adjustments the WRs need to know.

Dale Lolley said...

Yes, he's saying that in order to light a fire under those two and see which one shows that he wants it.

Anonymous said...

So, Dale...who do you think that will be? (this week, and/or beyond)

Anonymous said...

So Dale, which WR do you think that will be? (this week, and/or beyond)

datruth4life said...

Dale,

What are your thoughts on A. Brown vs E. Sanders for that 5th WR spot on game day? How do you compare their games and do you think either has starter potential in the future? K. Colbert hit some homeruns in this draft. If DL Al Woods turns out to be anything (though Colbert didn't draft him) the Steelers have a lot of young players with starter potential from this draft. Thoughts?

Dale Lolley said...

I like both Brown and Sanders. I think they both have a future with this team. But why in the world are you guys so concerned about who the fifth wideout will be?

It's probably going to continue to be Brown because he offers more in the return game. But they wanted to keep the fire lit under both players.