It’s finally here. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2017 season is set to kick off tomorrow in Cleveland. This is how we think they should attack the Browns:
If I am the Steelers, I get Le’Veon Bell involved early on. I know a lot of people are concerned with giving Bell a lot of touches in this first game, but this offense goes as Bell does. Bell can do so many things for this offense and I expect Tomlin to let Todd Haley get him involved early and often.
Martavis Bryant was able to participate in some preseason games, but I also think the Steelers need to get him a few touches early to knock the nerves out. Pittsburgh lacked a true No. 2 receiver last season with Bryant’s absence, and they have to be thrilled to have him back.
Gregg Williams, the Browns’ new defensive coordinator, likes to attack opposing offenses. I expect him to come after Big Ben, so I expect the Steelers to try and hit some quick passes to loosen the defense up. The Browns secondary is average at best, and I expect Haley to dial up some shots throughout the game. I was impressed by the Browns defense in the preseason, and I could still see them giving the Steelers fits.
When you face a rookie quarterback who is making his first career start, there are a lot of unknowns. The coaches have said all week that they are preparing to face a Hue Jackson offense. Jackson is one of the more creative offensive minds in the NFL, and he will use multiple personnel groupings. DeShone Kizer has a big time arm and can make all the throws. With the Steelers secondary having some new faces, I expect Kizer to take some shots as well.
Joe Haden came over from Cleveland and will make his Steelers debut Sunday. He will start at left corner for Pittsburgh. Haden, according to the local Pittsburgh media who have watched practice all week, say that Haden looks completely healthy. It will be a bit emotional for Joe returning to play in Cleveland, but I expect Haden to play well in his first game as a Steeler.
The Steelers have typically fared well against rookie quarterbacks, and I expect them to come after Kizer. I know the Steelers want to get to the QB with just rushing four, but with a rookie QB making his first start, you have to go after him. A lot.
I like the Steelers in this game, but I expect the game to be close. The Steelers will pull away late, but the Browns will keep it interesting. Pittsburgh has a favorable schedule early on in 2017 and can’t afford to lose to inferior competition.
Stephon Tuitt has signed an extension with the Steelers.
We have signed DE Stephon Tuitt to a new six-year deal through the 2022 season.
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) September 9, 2017