2017 started with the 0-0 Cleveland Browns and ends with that same squad, only the 0-15 version. The Steelers still could earn the top seed in the AFC, but a slew of starters won't see action on Sunday. Join BTSC as we take a closer look at this week's opponents.
*Denotes projected starter
HC/OC: Hue Jackson
DC: Gregg Williams
ST: Chris Tabor
*No. 7 QB DeShone Kizer
Where some felt Cleveland would go Mitch Trubisky, the Browns bypassed the "it quarterback" of the 2017 draft and nabbed a pass-rushing phenom in the form of Myles Garrett with the first overall pick. Finally with their fourth selection, Hue Jackson's team added a passer by selecting Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer. At 6'4"/233 lbs., the strong-armed Kizer has mobility to boot. However, No. 7 has struggled in his rookie year (53.6 completion rate, 2,380 yards and 9 TDs vs. 21 INTs). The Steelers typically do well against rookie quarterbacks, but Kizer played well against Pittsburgh in the opener, going 20/30 for 222 yards and both a TD and a pick.
Other Browns Quarterbacks to Note:
No. 6 Cody Kessler, No. 8 Kevin Hogan
*No. 34 RB Isaiah Crowell
The Browns have some talent at the RB position in the form of Crowell and Duke Johnson, who has been getting more carries in 2017.. Crowell is a dual-threat for the Browns. In 2017, the Alabama State product ran for not two scores and 832 yards, averaging 4.4 YPC. Crowell also caught 28 balls for 182 yards. The physical 5’11”/225 pounder gained 152 yards with 8.0 YPC in last year's finale against Pittsburgh, but he only mustered 33 yards rushing and 33 yards receiving in the opener.
Other Browns Running Backs to Note: No. 29 Duke Johnson Jr., No. 27 Matt Dayes, No. 42 FB Marquez Williams, No. 40 FB Dan Vitale (out)
*No. 12 WR Josh Gordon
When he's clean, Gordon is a remarkable playmaker. Since returning to the Browns after an absence of nearly 2 1⁄2 years, Gordon had 14 catches on 35 targets for 220 and a touchdown. Against the Steelers, the 6'4" receiver from Baylor and Utah has 418 yards in a mere four games.
Other Browns Wide Receivers to Note: *No. 19 Corey Coleman, No. 10 Sammie Coates, No. 80 Ricardo Louis, No. 81 Rashard Higgins, No. 83 Matt Hazel
*No. 87 TE Seth DeValve
DeValve and Randal Telfer both start at TE for Cleveland over first rounder David Njoku, who has 30 catches for 348 yards and four scores. Telfer is considered to be the best blocker among the tight ends and is crucial to the Cleveland rushing attack, but DeValve is a good safety valve for a young passer. No. 87 has caught 33 balls for 395 yards, including four catches for 42 against Pittsburgh in Week 1. All three will see action.
Other Browns Tight Ends to Note: No. 86 Randall Telfer, No. 85 David Njoku, No. 89 Matt Lengel
*No. 75 LG Joel Bitonio
The fourth-year guard is the best available lineman, with Joe Thomas on the shelf. Bitonio has only allowed 21 QB pressures all season and may not have to face Cam Heyward. However, the Steelers rush the passer dilligently and Bitonio will gave his hands full.
Other Browns Offensive Linemen to Note:
*No. 64 C JC Tretter, *No. 70 RG Kevin Zeitler, *No. 72 RT Shon Coleman, LT Zach Banner, LG Marcus Martin, C Austin Reiter,No. 76 LT Spencer Drango, No. 79 G Geoff Gray, No. 73 LT Joe Thomas (IR)
*No. 95 DE Myles Garrett
Garrett missed a good bit of his rookie season due to injury, but the first overall pick has been impressive with six sacks in a mere ten games. The dominant Garrett won't have a chance to chop down the "ordinary guy" (as he called Ben Roethlisberger), but will need to be accounted for at all times.
*No. 55 NT Danny Shelton
An interesting matchup is brewing between the exceptional run stuffer and the perennial Pro Bowl center, Maurkice Pouncey. Shelton has 24 run stops on the season and Pouncey is a much better pass protector than he is a road grader. The Washington Husky has 31 tackles on the season.
Other Browns Front Seven to Note:
*No. 93 DT Trevon Coley, *No. 94 DE Carl Nassib, No. 98 DT Jamie Meder (IR), No. 90 DE Emmanuel Ogbah (IR), No. 44 DE Nate Orchard, No. 99 DT Caleb Brantley, No. 65 DT Larry Ogunjobi, No. 92 DE Lavar Edwards, No. 98 DT Jamie Meder (IR), No. 90 DE Emmanuel Ogbah (IR), *No. 53 WLB Joe Schobert, *No. 58 MLB Christian Kirksey, No. 52 SLB James Burgess Jr., No. 48 SLB Jeremy Cash, No 49 Josh Keyes, No. 50 MLB B.J. Bello, No. 54 Dominique Alexander (IR), *No. 51 SLB Jamie Collins Sr. (IR)
*No. 30 CB Jason McCourty
The former Titan is having another good year with three interceptions and 14 past defenses. However, McCourty has struggled since Week 12 with no interceptions and four touchdowns allowed.
Other Browns Defensive Backs to Note:
*No. 21 CB Jamar Taylor, *No. 22 S Jabrill Peppers, *No. 43 S Kai Nacua, No. 41 CB Mike Jordan, No. 20 CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun, No. 36 S Derron Smith, No. 39 S Justin Currie, No. 35 CB C.J. Smith
*No. 5 K Zane Gonzalez
The strong-legged kicker from Arizona State is 14 of 19 in field goal attempts this year and only five of eight from over 49 yards. Although he kicks in cold weather Cleveland, Heinz Field is an even tougher place to kick.
Other Browns Special Teamers to Note:
*No. 4 P/H Britton Colquitt, *No 22 KR/PR Jabrill Peppers, No. 29 PR Duke Johnson Jr., No. 27 KR Matt Dayes , *No. 47 LS Charley Hughlett