New Line Awaits Steelers

Pittsburgh will find the 2008 Browns line to be different than last years. But will they do any better against the Steelers offensive line? Here's a look at Browns-Steelers changing dynamic...

The Steelers on Sunday will find the Browns a different team than the one they pummeled, 34-7, on their visit to Cleveland Stadium last year.

This version of the Browns is better against the run because of Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams, a pair of defensive linemen who last year played with the Lions and Packers, respectively.

Rogers followed up an excellent preseason by making four tackles in the season-opening 28-10 loss to the Cowboys. The former Lion has not been the lazy malcontent he was painted to be in Detroit before the Browns acquired him for a third-round draft choice and Leigh Bodden.

"I sneak around and have camaraderie with certain players," said Hall of Fame running back Jim Brown, who holds the title of Executive Advisor for the Browns. "I have the ability to have a short conversation that can be very pointed. It's real good, because Shaun Rogers is a great addition to this team.

"This kid has a great personality. He's a good human being and he's a natural leader. I think if we encourage him, it will pay dividends on and off the field. When you're a player with that kind of ability and you use it, other players respect you."

Likewise, the Browns are better at cornerback, although they did not look like it against the Cowboys, mainly because they could not mount a pass rush. The Steelers got a glimpse of an improving Eric Wright in the second meeting last year, a 31-28 loss in Pittsburgh. At one point in that game, the Browns led 21-6.

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger picked on Wright in the opener last year and threw a touchdown pass to Hines Ward over him. In the second game two months later, Wright made 10 tackles and sacked Roethlisberger once.

The other addition to the starting secondary is right cornerback Brandon McDonald. Last week, Cowboys receiver Terrell Owens had a five-inch height advantage on McDonald and beat him for a touchdown. Both Santonio Holmes and McDonald are 5-10.

It's early in the season, but the Browns look at this as a game they have to win if they are serious about knocking the Steelers off the pedestal in the AFC North. Coach Romeo Crennel is on record saying until his team beats the Steelers, they probably will not win the division.

Derek Anderson is making a point to be more careful with the football after throwing 19 interceptions last season. Ironically, turnovers by Anderson were not the problem in the collapse in Pittsburgh last year. He threw three touchdown passes and no picks in that game.

Anderson's career as a starter had its beginnings in the opener against the Steelers last year. He did not start the game, but halfway through the second quarter, Charlie Frye was yanked and Anderson was sent in to begin the mop up.

Anderson was sacked once the remainder of the game after Frye was sacked five times in the brief time he played. Anderson was sacked only 13 times in 15 starts the rest of the season.

Anderson will need similar protection Sunday if the Browns are going to break the jinx. The Steelers have beaten them nine straight times.



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