In their Week 3 tilt against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Cleveland Browns will seek to prove that their loss on Sunday to the New York Jets was just a fluke. An utter defensive collapse late in their last matchup was to blame for the poor result, but against the likes of quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, hopes are high that they can get back over the .500 mark before the season comes into full swing.
Here are three players to keep your eye on during this Thursday night tilt against Pittsburgh as the Browns find themselves in a must-win situation after early season woes:
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett
Aug 27, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Jacoby Brissett (7) throws a pass during the first half against the Chicago Bears at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Brissett is likely to be out for blood as he seeks to prove that he belongs among the NFL’s crew of starting quarterbacks. He threw an interception on Cleveland’s last drive against New York that sealed the Browns’ fate in the final seconds of their Week 2 loss, but had played a masterful game up to that point.
The Steelers host a talented ball-hawking secondary, so a sterling performance from Brissett would be all the more impressive. If he can show that he is up to the task of taking down a potential playoff contender early in the season, Brissett will buy himself some serious cache with fans and general managers around the league.
Safety Grant Delpit
Cleveland Browns defensive back Grant Delpit (22) reacts with cornerback A.J. Green (38) after intercepting a pass from Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
After helping blow the Browns’ lead last week, Delpit needs to show that he is better than his performance against the Jets would indicate. In the past, Delpit has been a rock-solid contributor on Cleveland’s defense, so a return to form would go a long way toward ingratiating himself to the Browns’ fanbase.
He had remarkably little to say to reporters in the wake of the Week 2 loss, and should be ready to prove that he can play at the same level he has in previous seasons. With an interception against the Steelers, Delpit could get this season back on track.
Wide receiver Amari Cooper
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Amari Cooper (2) makes a catch as he warms up before an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Sunday, Sept. 18, 2022, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Cooper was a stand out against New York and should carry the momentum he built on Sunday into this matchup against Pittsburgh. His 101 receiving yards led the team by a wide margin, and the touchdown he scored was a clear indication that he is building chemistry with Jacoby Brissett. He was brought in during the offseason to be a key playmaker on Cleveland’s offense, and with another stat-sheet-stuffer of a game, he would solidify his role as the Browns’ top receiving threat.
Watch for Cooper to be a featured target against the Steelers, and for the passing game to be schemed to get him open in key situations. Pittsburgh will likely be keyed in on Nick Chubb and the running game, so this matchup is a perfect opportunity for Cooper to show he can carry the load as Brissett’s number-one option.