Browns fans, we are all tired of losing our so called rivalry games with Pittsburgh Steelers, right? Well, I do not want to get our hopes up, but maybe this year we can force a split in the series.
I know that is a lot to ask of our Brownies, but the Steelers are going through a drastic offensive makeover going into this 2012-13 season.
Let’s take a look at Pittsburgh’s new-look offense:
First, the Steelers are without their dancing, sure-handed wide receiver Hines Ward. Ward retired this past offseason and the always smiling third down receiver will be hard to replace. They do keep Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, and Jerricho Cotchery in the receiving corps. Wallace and Brown are more of deep threats than possession receivers. So maybe Cotchery can attempt to fill in for Ward. Heath Miller may also be a viable option for Roethlisberger’s safety net. He is a big hit with the fans and has been a huge part of the offense in the past. But Hines Ward has some big shoes to fill and his presence will be missed by everyone…besides the rest of the league.
Another obstacle the Steelers face is the lack of a backfield. Rashard Mendenhall is out indefinitely from last season’s injury. And Mewelde Moore has slid into Andrew Luck’s offense in Indy. That leaves Isaac Redman and a bunch of unproven backs to carry the load in an offense that is known for having a great running game.
A third change to the offense is a new coordinator. Todd Haley was signed by the Steelers to take over managing the offense after he almost led the Chiefs to the playoffs with a backup quarterback and almost no running game. Before being a head coach for Kansas City Haley was an offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals. He also has a lot of experience with coaching wide receivers. That could be one positive for the young receiving corps. But, on the other hand, this is the first time that Pittsburgh has hired an offensive coordinator from outside the organization in thirteen years. His dad used to be the Steelers’ personnel coordinator so maybe that gives him an edge into understanding how the Steelers operate.
With a new type of receiving corps, no real proven running back, and a new coordinator there is a lot pressure on the chubby shoulders of Findlay, Ohio’s own Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben may have a couple Super Bowl rings, but it will be interesting to see if he can get his offense to click in time to compete with the Baltimore Ravens in the division. That is a lot to handle even for one of the top ten QBs in the league.
Unfortunately for Browns’ fans we don’t play the Steelers until Week 12. I am sure that they will be clicking on all cylinders and looking to snag a playoff spot by then. If they do not mesh well, however, I hope for the Browns to sneak a game away from them at Cleveland Browns Stadium in late November. And if neither team has playoff hopes in Week 17, the Browns could actually sweep them at Heinz Field. I know those are lofty predictions, but the Browns are known for ruining their own season and usually one more opponent’s season every year. Maybe this year we ruin Pittsburgh’s. One can only dream!
Will the Browns beat the Steelers this year? Can they even compete with them? Let me know in the comment section or on Twitter @Believelander.
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