Tomlin on the Browns
10-16-2010

Coach Mike Tomlin looks at this week’s opponent – the Cleveland Browns

Q. Browns-Steelers has been called the “Turnpike rivalry,” and even though the Cleveland franchise has had some lean years recently, is it still an important game?

A. I think anytime a professional football game is a bus trip, geographically speaking it has to be a rivalry.

Q. With the injuries the Browns have at quarterback, do you expect to see a lot of Joshua Cribbs in the Wildcat?

A. I expect that to be their plan. The amount of it we end up seeing will be determined by how we perform against it. If we don’t slow them down – if it’s similar to the way we handled it last year – we’ll see a lot of it. Hopefully, that’s not the case. Hopefully, we get after it, and then they move on to something else.

Q. The Browns have traded Jerome Harrison for Mike Bell in a swap of running backs. Does this indicate a total commitment by the Browns to a power running attack?

A. I think it’s more of a sign that things weren’t going the way they expected with Jerome Harrison. Usually when you’re talking about trading guys in the middle of the year, particularly a guy who had the kind of success he had late in 2009, there usually are some underlying stories involving that. We haven’t delved into that, because more than anything we’ve been interested in gathering information about Mike Bell and how he plays the game and how he might affect us this weekend.

Q. Will defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau give Browns rookie quarterback Colt McCoy some looks he’s never seen before?

A. If given the opportunity. I would imagine Eric Mangini and his staff are going to do whatever they can to keep McCoy out of those positions. Part of playing with a young quarterback – and I’m sure they’re having these discussions – is keeping him on schedule, or ahead of the chains. If he gets into second-and-long situations or third-and-long situations, that doesn’t bode well for a young man. We’d like to get him in those situations and hopefully we do, but I’m sure they’re going to work hard to keep him out of them.

Q. The Browns defense looks to be quite improved. Is that how you see it?

A. Not only their defense, but they’re a very good 1-4 team, if there’s such a thing. They played a one-loss Buccaneers team and lost by three points. They lost to Atlanta by 10, and they lost to a one-loss Kansas City team by two points. The Browns have played the toughest schedule in the NFL to this point this year, and we have a level of respect for that. We understand that is a battle-tested group.

Q. The Browns are No. 2 in the NFL in red zone defense. Why?

A. They throw a myriad of looks at you. You can’t pin them down and predict in any form or fashion what front or coverage they’re going to be in. It’s like they’re thoughtfully non-rhythmic in that area and it’s working for them so far this year.

Q. How would you evaluate Browns rookie safety T.J. Ward?

A. He has a Ryan Clark-like playing personality. We researched this young man, interviewed him prior to the draft. I liked him a lot. He’s a physical guy, consistently physical. He’s a football player first. Those are the kinds of guys who love games like this.

Q. For you, what is this game’s biggest matchup concern?

A. Always it’s the lines of scrimmage for us. On defense, they have a myriad of fronts, and they have a big man in Shaun Rogers. We have to deal with him. On the other side, the left side of their offensive line is a great left side – Joe Thomas, Eric Steinbach and Alex Mack at center. We have to do a nice job of winning the lines of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.

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