By Jeremy Hritz
Let’s cut to the heart of it: the Steelers play the Browns on Sunday in a pivotal game for the 2021 season. In preparation, here are my Steelers Study Notes for 10/28/21:
- The speculation surrounding Melvin Ingram being traded is growing, and it has been reported that the Kansas City Chiefs have made an offer, but the Steelers refused because they do not want to trade him within the AFC. The purposted reason for the trade request is that Ingram is apparently unhappy with his decreased number of snaps due to Alex Highsmith’s health. This was apparently communicated to him this summer, so I am a bit puzzled, if these rumors are true, why he is pushing for a trade? As my old defensive coordinator in high school used to say, “I’ve never missed anybody who wasn’t there,” maybe it is time to cut bait to avoid any kind of negativity in the locker room.
- In addition to avoiding negativity, the Steelers could also pick up some draft capital by moving Ingram, something they are in desperate need of. Why not the Arizona Cardinals, who are in need of a pass rusher, especially since it is a very real possibility that JJ Watt may be out for the remainder of the 2021 season.
- If Ingram is moved, what becomes of the OLB depth? I can tell you. It deteriorates. Sure, they have Taco Charlton on the practice squad, but do you try and bring back Cassius Marsh? I can’t believe I just typed that.
- Here’s a wish to the universe for health and prosperity for both TJ Watt and Highsmith. We need you.
- It looks as if Baker Mayfield will play this weekend against the Steelers despite his torn labrum and fractured humerus. If Pittsburgh’s pass rush gets going, he may not finish the game, which will call into question why he even starts in the first place. It’s a long season, and the Browns would be better served to start Case Keenum and give Mayfield rest. Evidence the Steelers own some rent-free space…
- The passing game won’t even be the priority this weekend. Instead, the Steelers will concentrate all of their resources on slowing down the NFL’s #1 rated rushing attack that averages 170.4 yards a game. While they won’t stop it, they have to slow it, and if they don’t, it will be a long day for the Steelers.
- The Browns rank #2 in overall yardage allowed on defense at 295.6 yards, while the Steelers are 13th at 352.3 yards allowed. Against the run, Cleveland allows only 80.4 yards per game (2nd in NFL) and 215 passing yards per game (7th in the NFL). The Steelers have to be ready offensively, as they will be challenged.
- The Browns wins this year have come against the Texans, Bears, Vikings, and Broncos. Their losses have come against the Chiefs, Chargers, and Cardinals. Their highest point total on offense thus far has been 42, while the most they have given up is 47. The least they have scored is 14, while the lowest they have allowed is 6.
- If the Steelers beat the Browns, they will win their next two against the Bears and the Lions and be 6-3 headed into their contest against the Chargers.
- And finally, expect a different Steelers team to emerge following the bye: one that has grown and that is ready to compete. I forsee big outputs from both the defense and Najee Harris.
That is all for today, Studians! Make it a great day!