Sunday's Steelers-Browns game at Heinz Field will be as Coach Mike Tomlin has called it, 'a five-star matchup,' with the 4-0 Steelers hosting the 4-1 Browns in an AFC North showdown.
The Browns come into the game on a four-game winning streak after dropping their season-opener and looking forward to the challenge the Steelers present.
"For the challenge this week, a really, really good football team – 4-0 and playing at their place," said Coach Kevin Stefanski. "I think it is going to be a very, very big challenge. I think the guys are excited about it.
"Just looking at them across the board, obviously, well-coached. Have a ton of respect for that coaching staff. What they are able to do on offense, they have Big Ben (Ben Roethlisberger) who is playing just great. He is so comfortable and that scheme. They have playmakers across the board. Really good up front.
"On defense, very impressive. They attack. They are physical. Really, really good players. A bunch of first-rounders up front. They vary their scheme so it can be a huge challenge for our offense. Special teams, very sound. Coach (Danny) Smith has been doing it a very, very long time, one of the great ones. A big challenge for us, and I think the guys are excited."
The Browns also talked about T.J. Watt, Bud Dupree, Chase Claypool and more.
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Coach Kevin Stefanski on the Steelers defense:
"They have a very stout defensive front. They have great players across the front seven. They have safeties that can fill, corners that will tackle and they present a schematic challenge in terms of that 3-4 look. They play great out of their sub-four down stuff that they do. They do different movements. The players they have along the front, it should be a very physical matchup."
Running back Karen Hunt on the rivalry with both teams having strong records:
"It is special because we both have two really good teams this year. It is definitely going to be a battle. We want to keep our streak alive, and I am sure they want to keep their streak alive, too. It is going to be a good game."
Quarterback Baker Mayfield on facing the Steelers defense after playing against a tough Colts defense last week:
"Yeah, both very good defenses, I think Pittsburgh is a little less of just line up and play. They will show you some looks and bring more pressures. It is pretty typical for Pittsburgh that they are physical, they have guys that are making plays and it starts up front with a lot of those guys that are obviously extremely talented. We have to handle that – those front seven guys – and take care of business."
Stefanski on the Steelers defense bringing various blitzes and fronts and the challenge preparing for the unit:
"They do a great job. The tape is very, very impressive. They do pressure a lot, based on the numbers, whether it is base or sub. They do a great job with it. They know what they are doing. They are attacking protections. They rush with violence. I think it is a very impressive, formidable scheme."
Tackle Christ Hubbard on the challenges the Steelers defense presents related to the wide zone offense:
"Our tight ends, they are going to be ready. I know for a fact that because they are going to have to take care of Bud (Dupree) as well as T.J. (Watt) when it comes to the wide-zone scheme. As far as the tackles, they will be there to help them and to assist what they can see as far as on the outside and make those big plays that we need. They are a gap-front team as far as controlling the line. For years, I have seen them practice that. I have seen it firsthand, first come-first serve being over there when I was over there in Pittsburgh. We are going to set the edge and make sure we get this wide zone running."
Stefanski on Chase Claypool's breakout performance on Sunday and how that adds to a challenging Steelers offense with several established playmakers:
"That is a huge benefit for their offense. They have a young player who can come in there and is big, physical and can make plays on the ball. To couple him with the other weapons that they have is a very big advantage."
Receiver Rashard Higgins on what makes the Steelers such a tough opponent at Heinz Field:
"They are always a sound team. Like I have been telling you about us, they are a bend-but-don't-break team, and they always feed off of each other's energy. We have to go in with a clear mindset of it is the next game, it is a division game and it is a huge game for us, but it is the next opponent so we have to get ready for them. They have to get ready for us."
Stefanski on if Mike Tomlin has always been intense, including when they were together in Minnesota during 2006:
"I have a ton a respect for Mike, a good friend. We had a great year together. You have to remember that was Mike T, (defensive line coach) Karl Dunbar, who is the defensive line coach there in Pittsburgh, (defensive coordinator) Joe Woods was our defensive backs coach, (senior offensive assistant) Kevin Rogers who is here and (passing game coordinator/wide receivers coach) Chad O'Shea who is here so a little bit of a Vikings reunion there for us. Impressed with what he has been able to do there over the course of however many years it has been. He has done a great job."
Stefanski on what impresses him the most about the way Tomlin coaches his teams:
"They are always prepared. He does everything. They are prepared. They win football games any which way they need to. He is a very outstanding coach."
Mayfield on the Steelers defensive line:
"It is a great test for us. Another great defense. They bring a physical challenge. They bring the muddied pockets. They will hit you. They try to impose their will. That is what our division is all about. We have to play that ball, match that energy and exceed it. They are obviously extremely talented, but the mindset of the Steelers defense is that they play as one and they play together. That is the challenge that we are facing."
Center JC Tretter on the expected intensity for this week's matchup with the Steelers:
"The Steelers have always been a really talented team. Especially as offensive linemen, their front seven is extremely talented and you know it is always going to be a battle in the trenches. I think it will not be any different in the games in the past. They get after the quarterback, and they cause chaos in the run game. It will be a really big challenge for us."
Mayfield on if the Steelers defense has changed over the years:
"They are consistent – same coordinator, a lot of the same personnel. Now, they will have different flavors of the week that they bring, and that is what you have to adjust and adapt to, but they are very good at what they do. They are not going to change it up too much. They are not trying to reinvent the wheel. They are going to add in certain mixes, different looks, but that is the challenge at hand for us. Offensively, it is another physical game, so we have to treat it [that way] trying to establish the run game and be efficient in the pass game. That does not change mindset wise for us, but scheme-wise with what we are having right now, we are continuing to improve and that is no matter who we are playing."
Stefanski on Ben Roethlisberger:
"He is a problem for defenses. He is an outstanding football player. The comfort level in this scheme and what they have been doing there for so long, he understands exactly where to go with the ball and gets it to the playmakers. He still is the physically gifted player that he has always been. You said it, coming back off of injury, he looks outstanding to me."
Hunt on the Steelers defense:
"They have good guys up front. Their front seven is really good. They have guys who can get to the passer and guys who make it a problem to run on. We definitely just have to come out ready to play and do our jobs and our one-on-one jobs."
Tretter on how the Steelers defense creates chaos in the run game and how the Browns' wide-zone scheme matches up with the Steelers defense:
"First of all, just the talent they have. You are going to be on one-on-one blocks, and you have to win your one-on-one blocks against very talented players. They do utilize movement, blitzes and dogs, which you just have to be dialed in at what they are doing and really be clear of where you are going and who you are going to. They are very multiple in their looks where they can present looks a bunch of different ways. That is always a challenge. I think after a full week of practice, we will be ready to go and we will understand their tendencies and things like that, but again, very talented up front and always a battle."
Stefanski on if he has to experience the Steelers-Browns rivalry before fully appreciating it:
"I probably have to go through it once. I know it's important to our fans, the fans in Pittsburgh. It's a big game, two really good teams playing. I get that. At the end of the day we are really focused on playing a good football team."