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Browns vs. Steelers: Getting to Know the Enemy With Behind the Steel Curtain

Jeff Hartman from Behind the Steel Curtain exchanged five questions with us, discussing what we can expect to see from Landry Jones, the issues in Pittsburgh's secondary, how the team's center position has fared, and more.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

This Sunday, the Cleveland Browns take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 10 of the regular season. To help preview this week's game, we reached out to Jeff Hartman from Behind the Steel Curtain and exchanged five questions with him. Enjoy!


Chris: "It looks like Landry Jones will start at quarterback for the Steelers this week. He has done well in relief twice, leading victories over Arizona and Oakland. He lost his only start to the Chiefs, though. What can you tell us about Jones' strengths and weaknesses in your limited time
seeing him play?"

Jeff: "For the die hard fans who watch the preseason closely, they saw plenty of Landry Jones this season. In fact, no QB played more in the preseason this year than Landry Jones. A large part of that is due to the Steelers having 5 preseason games, but also because the team wanted Jones to prove himself entering his third season.

Jones didn't really prove himself, as the team signed Mike Vick, but when given the chance Jones shined. His obvious strengths are a great understanding of the offense and arm strength. Jones can throw the football with the best of them, but such a strength also turns into a weakness. Jones has tried to force some throws, and his pre-snap reads aren't always the correct ones which can lead to big plays for the defense."


Chris: "How has the Steelers' center situation been all season without Maurkice Pouncey?"

Jeff: "It has been rough, to put it mildly. Pouncey is an All Pro at his position, and the drop off to Cody Wallace is steep. Wallace has done an admirable job in Pouncey's stead, but it isn't close to the production and protection the Steelers have when Pouncey is in the lineup. Wallace is a mauler, which doesn't work as well in Mike Munchak's scheme compared to the technically sound Pouncey."


Chris: "Who would you rate as the Steelers' best defensive player this year?"

Jeff: "In my opinion the Steelers' best defensive player isn't really a debate. It is Cam Heyward. Heyward has been a monster along the defensive line in both run support and in the pass rush. Heyward has more than proved he was worthy of a first round selection, and the new contract he signed prior to the 2015 season. When Heyward is clicking on all cylinders he can disrupt the entire offense for the opposition."


Chris: "Pittsburgh's defense seems to be struggling to defend the pass at times. Which players have had the most issues in coverage?"

Jeff: "The entire Steelers' secondary is extremely mediocre this season, but William Gay has by far been the bright spot for this team. Teams rarely test Gay, instead intent on going after Antwon Blake and Ross Cockrell. Even of those two, it is Blake who is constantly picked on by the opposition. "


Chris: "Tell us about a player on the Steelers who Browns fans might not know about but who has been playing pretty well."

Jeff: "Of the players Browns fans might not know, it would be cornerback Ross Cockrell. Cockrell is quietly having himself a great season, and this is after spending the entire preseason with the Buffalo Bills, being released prior to the 53-man cut downs, and landing in Pittsburgh. Cockrell is one of three Pittsburgh DBs with two interceptions, and the simple fact he is playing as much as he is without spending the preseason with the team would certainly make him the most unknown commodity for opponents, and their fans."


Thanks again to Jeff for taking the time to answer my questions.