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News » Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-09-13

Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-09-13

Cleveland Browns Inside Slant 2008-09-13
The more things change, the more at least one problem remains the same for the Browns. In this case, they are still trying to find ways to get to the opposing quarterback.

One of the main reasons the Browns traded for Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams in the offseason was to add punch to a pass rush that finished near the bottom of the league last season. The pass rush was shut out last Sunday when Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo completed 24 of 32 passes against it.

Coach Romeo Crennel says the Browns will mix their pass rush in the future, starting Sunday night against the Steelers in Cleveland Browns Stadium, with the hope the opposing quarterback won't have all day to throw as Romo did.

Early in the Dallas game, the Browns almost conceded they would not get to Romo and rushed only three players. But even with eight defenders in coverage, Romo completed 13 of 16 passes for 175 yards in the first half.

When the Browns did get minimal pressure on Romo, they rushed four or five, but Romo still completed 11 of 16 passes for 145 yards in the second half. Some of those were against a three-man rush.

Changes in scheme are coming -- not so much changes in personnel, because the Browns are already using what they consider to be their best pass rushers. The pass rush took a hit on the Wednesday before the opener when linebacker Antwan Peek tore a patellar tendon in practice, ending his season before it started.

"We could rush more guys," Crennel said. "But when you rush more guys -- everybody has been talking about our secondary and how we're not good enough on the back end. When we put more guys on the rush, if they don't get there, you expose those guys on the back end a little bit more.

"Now it becomes a chess match. You have to try to pick and choose when you want to rush more. We're going to have to mix it up. Sometimes we'll have to rush three. Sometimes we'll rush four or five or six.

"We'll have to mix it up and try our best to pick the most opportune time to put more people in the rush."

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger completed 13 of 14 passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns last Sunday when Pittsburgh hammered Houston 38-17. He was sacked twice.

Crennel conceded rushing five or six against the Steelers can be risky because Pittsburgh uses four receivers at times, so mixing up the pass rush might have to wait a week.

Outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley is determined to make the rush better, not just against the Steelers but in the 14 games to follow as well. Wimbley had 11 sacks as a rookie and five last season. Since he is the best pass rusher the Browns have, he sees constant double teams. He expects more of them from the Steelers.

"Nobody knew of me my first year," Wimbley said. "Last year offensive coordinators came with schemes to slow me down and wear me out. We've gotten players from other teams who told us 'our offensive coordinator specifically said you were a key person we had to stop in order to be successful.'

"Hopefully, people will still pay attention to me, but this time I have some more people to come along with me."

Crennel is counting on Shantee Orr and rookie Alex Hall to supply the pass rush lost when Peek was injured. Peek had four sacks last year.

SERIES HISTORY: 111th meeting. The series is tied, 55-55, but the Steelers have a 2-1 edge in playoff games. The series has tilted decidedly in Pittsburgh's favor since the Browns returned to the NFL in 1999. The Steelers have won nine straight and 15 of 16. Romeo Crennel is still looking for his first victory over the Steelers as a head coach.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: September 13, 2008

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Joe Thomas Name: Joe Thomas
Position: OL
Age: 23
Experience: 2 years
College: Wisconsin
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