The stage is set!
The undefeated Browns (in the preseason) are taking on the rival (not undefeated in the preseason) Pittsburgh Steelers in the opener of the 2017 NFL season at First Energy Stadium. It’ll be a showdown that features an exchange at cornerback and wide receiver.
As you all know by now, the Browns released veteran CB Joe Haden and the Steelers signed him. Then, the team traded with the Steelers for wide receiver Sammie Coates in exchange a 6th round draft pick. It’s interesting that these two squads are trading with each other. Usually, rivals wouldn’t interact with one another other than on the football field. But, it’s obvious that this rivalry has died down because it’s been so lopsided.
The Browns made the smart decision to go with the rookie quarterback and allow him to experience in-game live reps from the beginning of the season. Hot take alert: it’s my belief that if Johnny Manziel started in Week 1 of his first year, he would still be our quarterback.
You don’t learn much from sitting on the sideline watching bad football.
This isn’t just any game. It’s the first game and it’s against the Pittsburgh Steelers and DeShone Kizer has an opportunity to show the world what he’s made of and beat a very good Pittsburgh team. With an improved defense, the Browns have an opportunity to win more than ever.
The only issue for Kizer is who he’s throwing the ball to. The Browns don’t have the sexiest of receivers and that may be an issue against Pittsburgh’s secondary (except Joe Haden). However, from watching him in the preseason, for what it’s worth, Kizer throws a beautiful deep ball and made good decisions most of the time.
Of course, the regular season is a different animal for the youngster. He’s going to have to show even more poise, but luckily, he has a home crowd behind him. This city is yearning for a winner and beating the Steelers at home would be a ray of hope for a fan base that’s been disappointed for many years.
Now, is there a chance the Browns lose by 20 and Kizer gets picked off three times. A rookie always has growing pains. There’s just a way about Kizer where one is more likely to feel that he can jump right in and start this season off with a huge win.
The Steelers come to Cleveland every year with their fans bringing those damn terrible towels. And every year, almost as a tradition, they come in and spank us. This is the year to change that and Kizer is the quarterback that has the potential to do it.
For Kizer to have success, he must limit the first game jitters, not stare down receivers and connect on a couple of deep balls, his specialty with that cannon for an arm.
Sunday starts a new season for the Browns and the first where there is really some true optimism. No one is expecting a playoff run or even a .500 season, but winning a couple more games this year should be in order.
Good luck to DeShone Kizer and Browns. If he beats the Steelers, this city explodes.
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