Each week as the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare for their matchup we will go behind enemy lines and get the scoop on the team they’re facing with a member of the FanSided Network. Today we have Jared Mueller, editor of Dawg Pound Daily, giving us the info on the Cleveland Browns. He discussed the possibility of Johnny Manziel seeing playing time, the outlook at wide receiver without Josh Gordon, the running game, and the expectations for the Browns this season.
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The Steelers are preparing to see Johnny Manziel on Sunday. How much Manziel are Browns fans expecting to see in the first game?
Very little. If Manziel sees 2 or 3 plays that would be about the most Browns fans expect. Obviously if Hoyer gets injured it is a different story. Manziel is not ready to play and putting a specific package in, besides just a couple plays, could harm his development.
Who is going to pick up for the loss of Josh Gordon?
No one. Really that is the accurate answer. The Browns are going to run the ball a ton and have shown little value in the receiver position this year. Kyle Shanahan has often gotten a lot out of a little at the position and will really have to do so this year. Obviously Jordan Cameron will be the focal point of the passing game. Andrew Hawkins is amazing in short area while Miles Austin will get us some first downs. Travis Benjamin is the player, along with LaRon Byrd if he is up to speed, that will help take the top off the defense and keep the Steelers defenses honest.
What role is Ben Tate going to play for the Browns offense? Will he be expected to be a 3-down back?
He is expected to be a 3 down back, at least early in the season. Rookie Terrance West hasn’t picked things up the way the coaching staff was hoping for him to do so. The Browns lack a true change of pace back at this point but with Tate, West and fellow rookie Isaiah Crowell they have 3 backs that could be 3 down players. Tate will get a lot of touches in the Browns Zone Blocking Scheme and will be the focal point of the offense. His receiving out of the backfield could surprise many as well.
From a fan’s perspective do you want to see Johnny Manziel over Brian Hoyer from the start?
As a fan I wanted Hoyer and still do. Manziel, while exciting, needs to figure out to be a starting level QB. Hoyer showed last year he could be a stop gap measure at least allowing Manziel to develop in the pocket. If Carson Palmer had to sit a year behind John Kitna than Manziel sitting for a season is appropriate. I care about the long term health of the team and Manziel starting now isn’t it.
What is the outlook for the 2014 Cleveland Browns?
Surprisingly I predicted an 8-8 record in our big Cleveland Browns Season Preview I think the Browns defense and run game can keep them in most games. Shanahan will use short splits with his receivers to create space for them to work and is creative enough to manufacture a pass game. The aging Steelers and Ravens, along with Andy Dalton means that the AFC North is no longer the power division it has been. Doesn’t mean the Browns’ will have an easy path but the division along with some of the other teams on the Browns schedule give them a chance.
There you have it, Steeler Nation. What to look for Sunday afternoon against the Browns. The Steelers have a pretty good opportunity here to start the season off strong and a win against the Browns is the perfect start.
Here we go Steelers! Here we go!