The Browns have a few star players who could give the Steelers fits on Thursday Night Football. Here are the players Pittsburgh must focus on tonight.
In many ways, the Clevland Browns are much like the Pittsburgh Steelers. Both teams have some studs on their roster that their opponents must account for at all times. Fortunately for Kevin Stefanski’s team, they will not have to face T.J. Watt this time around.
Still, the Browns are no-doubt aware of the impact Minkah Fitzpatrick has made in his first two games, and they may try to avoid him tonight. On the flip side, there have been a few players on Cleveland who have really made their presence felt early and are keys to their success. Here are the players Pittsburgh must focus on stopping tonight:
Steelers must shift attention to Myles Garrett
Of all of the players Mike Tomlin must focus on, none of them is more important than Myles Garrett. The multiple-time All-Pro pass rusher has unsurprisingly been tremendous early in the 2022 season and has gotten to the quarterback often. The Steelers can’t allow that to happen tonight.
With Jadeveon Clowney ruled out for this contest, Pittsburgh should not be concerned about Chukwuma Okorafor and his matchup against Isaiah Thomas and Alex Wright. Rather, all of their attention needs to be focused on helping LT Dan Moore Jr. against one of the league’s best defenders. If they can slow down Garrett, perhaps the passing offense could finally get going this week against a suspect Browns secondary.
Pittsburgh can’t allow Browns RBs to get going
In addition to stopping Myles Garrett, the Steelers need to do a good job containing Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. These two stud running backs combined for nearly 200 scrimmage yards last Sunday. The Browns are currently 1st in the NFL in rushing yards per game (200.5), according to Team Rankings, and they are averaging 5.3 yards per pop.
Cleveland has the potential to give Pittsburgh’s defense death by a thousand cuts. Without T.J. Watt there to dominate at the point of attack, the linebackers will have to step up big in this contest. I think it would also be wise to play Terrell Edmunds near the line of scrimmage often. I would much rather force Jacoby Brissett to beat you through the air than allow Chub and Hunt to get rolling.
Trubisky must be careful throwing at Owusu-Koramoah
Here’s a player who hasn’t garnered nearly enough attention from the national NFL media early in his career. I was a huge fan of Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah coming out of Notre Dame in 2021. He’s been nothing but excellent for Cleveland so far. JOK isn’t a punishing, downhill linebacker, but he’s as smooth and fluid as they come.
Mitch Trubisky needs to be really careful throwing his direction this game, as JOK is one of the best coverage linebackers in the business already. Through two games, Owusu-Koramoah is the number one rated linebacker in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus with a 91.4 overall grade. His partner in crime, LB Anthony Walker, isn’t bad either. We want Trubisky to utilize the middle of the field much more in the passing game, but he does need to be a bit cautious when throwing at these talented linebackers.
I’ll take my chances with other Browns players stepping up to the plate tonight, but the Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t going to find success on Thursday Night Football unless they slow down Cleveland’s stars tonight.