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Old 09-12-2008, 12:35 AM   #1
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Default Browns taking it real serious

Browns Hoping to Rebound Vs. Steelers

BEREA, Ohio (AP) - Before Browns linebacker Willie McGinest decided that this season - No. 15 in the NFL - would be his last, he took several things into consideration.

He wanted to get back to the playoffs.

He wanted another shot at a Super Bowl ring.

And he wanted to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"They kind of run the division, which is no secret," McGinest said Thursday. "We want to change that."

Embarrassed by the Dallas Cowboys in their season opener at home last week, the Browns will look to bounce back Sunday. They host the Steelers, their repugnant rival and the defending AFC North champions who have beaten them nine straight times and are coming off an impressive Week 1 win over the Houston Texans.

The first of five nationally televised games on Cleveland's schedule, this week's matchup with Pittsburgh is anything but ordinary. For the Browns, it's as big as an early-season game can possibly get. If they have any designs of unseating the Steelers in their division, they need to end Pittsburgh's dominance over them.


Wide receiver Braylon Edwards, who dropped several passes and a potential TD in last Sunday's 28-10 loss, was asked if the Browns "have to" win this week.

"Umm," Edwards said, pausing to perhaps choose the right words. "It would definitely help to come out and get a win so we can rebound from last week. This is a division game. It would give us a chance to go 1-0 in the division. It's a very pivotal game. It's a very important game. 'Have' is a very strong word, but it's close."

Browns general manager Phil Savage wasn't quite as reserved in labeling the matchup as vital. Although it's early, the remainder of Cleveland's season could hinge on the outcome.

"Nothing would calm the waters better than beating the Steelers," said Savage, who took over the Browns in 2005. "It's the biggest game of the year, and quite frankly it's the biggest game we've played in since I've been here. It's a critical game. These next three weeks (Pittsburgh, at Baltimore, at Cincinnati) really are going to define our season. The first one is almost a must win if you can have one in the second game of the year."

He's right. The Browns, who came into the season as a trendy pick to contend in the AFC after a 10-6 season in 2007, can't afford an 0-2 start - not at home, and not with a schedule that includes upcoming matchups with the New York Giants, Jacksonville, Denver, Indianapolis and Philadelphia along with four division games on the road.

Cleveland is expected to be slightly healthier than it was a week ago. Pro Bowl kick specialist Joshua Cribbs should be back after missing last week with a sprained ankle, and safety Brodney Pool has been cleared to play after missing several weeks with a concussion.

The Browns lost safety Sean Jones to a knee injury earlier this week, and wide receiver Donte' Stallworth will probably miss his second straight game with a strained quadriceps.

Cribbs, though, should provide a spark. Last year, he returned a kickoff 100 yards against the Steelers in the second meeting between the clubs. That score put the Browns ahead 28-24 in the fourth quarter, but they couldn't hold the lead.

Cleveland's biggest problem in recent years against Pittsburgh has been finishing the Steelers off. The Browns have held double-digits leads that they've let slip away. They've lost 15 times in 16 games to the Steelers.

This week, the Browns are hoping to show that last week's loss - a game of missed chances and missed tackles - was not a sign of things to come. They need to prove that they are legitimate, that the TV network honchos in New York didn't make a mistake by putting them on in prime time on three Monday nights, a Sunday and a Thursday.

This weekend, McGinest, who won three Super Bowls in New England, will play in his 200th career game. The 36-year-old, though, wasn't in the mood to wax nostalgic about his playing days.

Not this week.

Not with so much on the line.

"I'm worried about Pittsburgh," he said. "I'm not thinking about retiring or the season or nothing else like that. Nothing else really matters right now. Our focus right now is on Pittsburgh. Not me, not 200 games, not me retiring. Pittsburgh."

This former Cheatriot forgot something, though. The Clowns maybe not a good team, but they don't cheat.
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Old 09-12-2008, 12:36 AM   #2
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Default Re: Browns taking it real serious

Super Bowl in Week 2 baby!
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money . . . you can keep "THE CHANGE."
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Old 09-12-2008, 12:48 AM   #3
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Default Re: Browns taking it real serious

They need to play better than the flop at week 1!
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Old 09-12-2008, 04:04 AM   #4
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Default Re: Browns taking it real serious

They have every reason to be worried we own them and they should recieve another thumping this week.
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Old 09-12-2008, 05:39 AM   #5
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Default Re: Browns taking it real serious

I still worry about the oline......Ben getting nailed twice and not being able to practice because he got banged up in the first game of the season is still not acceptable in my book. The browns and every team we play will look to expoit our weakest link. The Steelers did alot of good things on game one....... now they to be consistant and get even better.
"We're not going to turn our backs on him," Ward said. "We're going to treat him like our brother. We're going to accept him back and be very supportive of him and help him get through this. In this locker room, he's still our quarterback."
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Old 09-12-2008, 05:54 AM   #6
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Default Re: Browns taking it real serious

The Steelers know what they're getting into. They're a better team than the Browns, but this game will not be easy. They know what's at stake. A loss marks Pittsburgh with an early division loss and throws in a new perspective on the season.

I wouldn't be surprised if Cleveland opened up an early lead.

This is the first test for the 2008 Steelers, showing road game intensity against a division rival in primetime.
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Old 09-12-2008, 07:42 AM   #7
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Default Re: Browns taking it real serious

I fully expect the Browns to play better than they did last week. They started playing a little better defensively in the 2nd half last week, but by then it was too late. It's going to be tougher for the Steelers this week than last week for sure.
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Old 09-12-2008, 08:26 AM   #8
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Default Re: Browns taking it real serious

Like someone stated in another thread, the browns are in a corner early in the season. We can't go in there with all this pride and arrogance. We need to go in there with respect for the browns, and then beat them down like the redheaded step children they are!!!

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Old 09-12-2008, 09:05 AM   #9
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Default Re: Browns taking it real serious

The fans take has absolutely no bearing whatsoever on how the players feel about this game. They know it's a big game. They understand the rivalry. They know that every game starts out tied at zero. They know past records don't matter.

The Steelers know that this is the Browns Super Bowl every year. They'll come out and take care of business...
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Old 09-12-2008, 09:58 AM   #10
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Default Re: Browns taking it real serious

Man...I'm so hyped up for this game, but one of my best buddies planned his b-day dinner DURING the game. DAMMITTTT.
Ward, after being fined by Goodell on a play that was not penalized:

Originally Posted by Hines Ward
What are you going to say, I was too rough?
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