Steel Curtain Network: A Pittsburgh Steelers podcast

What will a Dorian Thompson Robinson Browns offensive game plan look like?

Even though this Sunday’s game versus Pittsburgh will be Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s second career start, this will be the first time the coaching staff will prepare a game plan for him. Recall that for his first start, the plan was for Deshaun Watson to start, but the decision was made at game time to substitute DTR because Watson simply could not go.  Accordingly, the plays were chosen for the veteran rather than for the kid.  So what do we expect to see?

First of all, we expect to see a number of running plays, and we should see the Browns test out their three-tight end formations (or two tight ends plus fullback).  In this formation, they bring in an extra offensive lineman who becomes a tight end, usually on the right side next to James Hudson III, plus a true blocking tight end such as Jordan Akins or Harrison Bryant. Bill Belichick describes this for you here:

So David Njoku is at the end of the formation, and together they form a wedge for the halfback using the Browns sweep right.  They can also transition to a pass option out of this formation.  They probably want to run right at T.J. Watt on the grounds that he is going to be in every play anyway, so they might as well keep him in front.

For sure Amari Cooper will remain the primary threat at wide receiver. Cooper has been outstanding all season long, no matter who has been assigned to cover him. The problem with the Browns deep threat offense is finding a counterpart on the other side. Donovan Peoples-Jones was Missing in Action for the first part of the season, and the situation has become even more ridiculous with Cedric Tillman inheriting the job after DPJ’s departure. Watson targeted Tillman only 4 times in 120 offensive snaps for one reception and three yards in his first two games as WR2.

It would not be a shock to see DTR to help end the Tillman drought. Remember 2018, when Baker Mayfield “discovered” Rashard Higgins, with whom he had developed great rapport with, working out together with the backups? Perhaps we could see something similar with Tillman and DTR, since they have worked together as backups for most of the year.

In short, this situation is going to play to Coach Stefanski’s classic instincts. He loves run-first offenses.  As crazy as it sounds, the Steelers come into the game with the 23rd-ranked run defense in the NFL, having yielded an alarming 1181 yards at the approximate halfway point.  They are giving up 4.52 yards per carry, which is 26th best.

Where the Steelers excel is in turnovers. They have 10 INTs compared to the Browns nine. However the Steelers are number two in the NFL with eight fumble recoveries, compared to six for the Browns.

The Browns love to turn the ball over on offense, with 12 INTs and seven lost fumbles, for 19 total turnovers. The Steelers, on the other hand, have turned it over only eight times, with six INTs and two lost fumbles.  P.J. Walker, incidentally, has five INTs all by himself, with DTR contributing three in one game.

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Podcast Transcript

Jeff Hartman joins Johnny Cleveland to provide their forecasts of the upcoming Browns Steelers game!  Will they get it right?


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