Browns Linebacker Corps Must be Patient
Le’Veon Bell frustrates the opposition not just because he’s exceptionally versatile as a runner and a receiver out of the backfield, but also because he’s extremely patient. The Browns’ linebackers will need to exercise patience and be careful to not commit to gaps before he does. Bell does an outstanding job of finding cutback lanes as a result of linebackers committing prematurely.
The Browns have used their up-tempo attack sparingly this season to minimize the risk of creating a tendency for the opposition to study. With numerous injuries across the Steelers linebacker corps and secondary, look for the Browns to challenge their communication with an accelerated tempo.
The Browns offensive line has done a stellar job creating rushing lanes for all three of their running backs this season. Look for the Browns running backs to continue to enjoy success particularly on backside runs. In the first game of the season against the Steelers, Ben Tate had a lot of success rushing for 41 yards on just six carries prior to injuring his knee in the first half of the game. Expect for Tate to pick up where he left off Sept. 7.
With injury concerns looming over star cornerback Joe Haden, it will be paramount for the Browns to find ways to contain the Steelers’ passing attack. In their first matchup this season, Ben Roethlisberger threw for 365 yards. While it goes against the hubris Browns’ head coach Mike Pettine, it would behoove the Browns to play more zone this time around to force the Steelers offense to go down the field in a more methodical fashion and minimize explosive plays.
Tackling was a huge problem last week. On numerous occasions the defense’s inability to wrap up led to Titans quarterback Jake Locker gashing the Browns on the ground. Ben Roethlisberger is known for shrugging off tacklers and extending plays with his legs. If the Browns’ defense doesn’t do a better job of tackling once they arrive at the ball carrier, they could be on the field for a large portion of the game.
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