View Full Version : Big week to check on improvements

10-12-2010, 05:33 PM
NFL from the sidelines

After hobnobbing around the NFL in the press boxes and sidelines, sports reporter Dale Lolley will let you know the insider scoop.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Big week to check on improvements

You could make the argument that the Browns cost a couple of Steelers coaches their jobs in 2009 and very nearly cost offensive coordinator Bruce Arians his as well.

Josh Cribbs had a 98-yard kickoff return against the Steelers at Pittsburgh last season, one of four kickoff returns for touchdowns allowed by the Steelers.

It was obvious that special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky wasn't coming back after a season of lowlights.

But the low point for offensive line coach Larry Zierlein and Arians came in a 13-6 loss in December at Cleveland.

In a driving wind and temperatures that were well below freezing, the Steelers ran the ball just 22 times for 74 yards.

And quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was sacked eight times in a game plan that was obviously not adjusted to account for the weather.

That loss was the final one in a five-game losing streak for the Steelers, who won their final three games to finish at 9-7.

But the damage was done - at least for Ligashesky and Zierlein.

The were replaced by Al Everest and Sean Kugler, respectively, while Arians got a reprieve with the promise to run the ball more often.

We've seen the early results in the first four games, but Cleveland will offer some challenges this week, particularly for Everest, with Josh Cribbs.

Three of Cribbs' eight career kickoff returns for touchdowns have come against the Steelers. And he's just missed scoring on a couple of other occasions.

The Browns are not a good football team. But, as we saw last season, when you give up big plays on special teams or allow an all-out assault on your quarterback, you can lose to anyone.