The Steelers host the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field on Sunday, a team that gave them everything they have in a Week 1 matchup that ended in a 21-21 tie.
Both sides know it’s going to be a real battle, and one that could come down to the final minutes again.
“The Steelers are a really good football team, playing well, coming off of a bye,” said Browns Coach Hue Jackson. “They are first in the division for a reason. They have good players. They are a good team.”
The Browns, including Jackson and others, weighed in on all things Steelers, including a lot of talk about T.J. Watt.
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Jackson on how the Steelers improved since Week 1:
“The first time that we played them, obviously, the quarterback threw us quite a few balls. He has been very stingy since then. They have gotten the ball to their playmakers. They have made a lot of plays. Their offense is one of the higher ranked offenses in the National Football League.
“Defensively, they have made some huge plays to help win games. I think they have turned their season around. These guys are first in the division. They have gotten better. They are playing good football.”
Chris Hubbard on facing the Steelers for the second time this year:
“Those guys, they have found a rhythm. From Week 1, they are a different team. You can see that watching them play. They feel comfortable in what they do. They play aggressive. A physical team. I have been over there. I know what they expect. Watching those guys from Week 1 to now, there is a big jump.
“They are still doing the same thing that they were doing in Week 1 just a little bit better than what they were doing in Week 1.”
Jackson on how to balance the pass rush from Steelers T.J. Watt and the rest of the defensive line:
“It is a chess match a little bit. Obviously, the last time we played he had a tremendous game, a really good game. We know that is something we have to get squared away, but there is (Cameron) Heyward, there is (Stephon) Tuitt and there is (Bud) Dupree. They have a lot of guys that know how to rush the passer. They are one of the fastest pass rushing teams in all of football so we get that. It is a challenge.”
Joel Bitonio on what makes Watt effective:
“He plays hard. He has size. He has the motor. For some reason against us, the first three times we played him, he has gotten – not lucky because he plays hard and makes plays – but he has fallen into a few sacks and had some nice plays. He is a good player. He works hard. He is good with his hands for a younger player, and he is a tough guy to handle. He is definitely on our list of guys we want to try to shut down this week.”
Baker Mayfield on Watt:
“He is obviously one of their best players. He had four sacks against us last time so that stands out on film. When he is not making plays, that is because someone is keying in on him and somebody else is opening up an opportunity for that. You have to pay attention to where he is, but that does not mean lose sight of everybody else.”
Hubbard on Watt:
“Athletic guy. I have been around him so I know what to expect. He is a guy that is going to come out there and have his craft down as much as possible. He is going to work all game and have a motor the whole game.”
Mayfield on if he has a good understanding of the Browns-Steelers rivalry following his first game:
“Absolutely. Can feel it from our crowd. That was the first game of the year so a little bit different, but yeah, absolutely. Can sense the physicality of this game. That is kind of how all of our division games go. I got a good taste for it.”
Hubbard on if he is helping the offensive line prepare for Pittsburgh by using his experience with the Steelers:
“Oh yeah, I always tell those guys different nuggets and things that they can work on. Being around those guys for so long, you just know them personally – what works for them and what does not work for them.”
Mayfield on the Steelers defense:
“They play hard. They have a lot of talent everywhere. That is the obvious thing, but they play hard. They play with each other, and they feed off the energy. They feed off of the big plays that they are making. It will be a great test for us.”