Friday, September 12, 2008
10th Time's the Charm
For one night, everything went right for Tim Couch. The offensive line protected him, the running game was clicking, the receivers were making all the catches and the defense stepped up big. On that one shining night, Sunday Night no less, the Cleveland Browns went into Pittsburgh and won 33-13 and Couch (2 TD, 0 INT, 1 rush TD) was a hero.
That seems so long ago, doesn't it? That's because for a number of reasons (porous defense, absent running game, paper line, putrid QB play), the Cleveland Browns have lost the last 9 games with their archrivals from the Steel City since that fateful night. Now is the time for redemption. The Browns will get another crack at Pittsburgh, number 10, this Sunday night (sense a deja-vu?) in front of a national audience all wondering the same thing: is this the time? Is this team for real? The Browns will need to step up big as it seems all odds are against them. The Clevelanders are coming off a 28-10 beatdown at the hands of Dallas while Pittsburgh was on the giving end of one of their own, smashing the helpless Texans. The Browns are hurt (see below) and the Steelers (as usual) are almost completely healthy. It's been almost 8 years since we have defeated Pittsburgh at home and in a recent CBS fan poll, 93% of fans picked the Steelers to win.
I'm not sure what to expect or what to hope for, but this seems to be as good a time as any. We are hungry: the fans, the players, Phil, Romeo and perhaps most of all, Randy Lerner, a man who deserves more for what he has put into this team than the team has given him. The Steelers are content, the "fat cats" of the division and they have little reason to get fired up. After all, many of the Steelers' players and fans have declared that this is no longer a rivalry due to the team's dominance over the last 5 years. I don't know if we can do it, but I do know that we have to. There is no other option.
As usual, the Browns have a host of injuries heading into Sunday night's game with the Steelers, here's a brief recap:
S Sean Jones, OUT (knee surgery)*
TE Martin Rucker, OUT (knee surgery)
KR Josh Cribbs, QUESTIONABLE (ankle)*
LB Kris Griffin, PROBABLE (elbow)
G Rex Hadnot, QUESTIONABLE (knee)*
S Brodney Pool, QUESTIONABLE (concussion)*
OL Ryan Tucker, DOUBTFUL (hip)*
WR Donte Stallworth, DOUBTFUL (quad strain)*
LB Kamerion Wimbley, PROBABLE (groin pull)*
WR Joe Jurevicius, PUP (out until Week 7)
OL Lennie Friedman, IR (out for season)
CB Daven Holly, IR (out for season)
OLB Antwan Peek, IR (out for season)*