By Tony Grossi | ESPNCleveland.com
Extra Points …
Bring in the Tank: Steelers week ended with linebacker Craig Robertson not practicing a single day because of a sprained knee, which means, for all intents and purposes, he won’t play Sunday. The Browns listed Robertson doubtful on their injury report.
More than likely, it would result in Tank Carder playing for Robertson next to D’Qwell Jackson in the middle of the front seven of the defense. It would be Carder’s first start this year. He made his first NFL start in the 16th game last year at Pittsburgh.
Robertson is third on the defense in tackles (70) and third in sacks (three). Carder is a stalwart on special teams and trails tackles-leader Johnson Bademosi by one with eight.
Defensive coordinator Ray Horton shrugs off lineup changes due to injuries.
“I go back to my first interview with you guys, talking about depth,” Horton said. “I do not care who’s in the game. They’re all accountable. I am as comfortable with Tank as I was Craig (Robertson), Mingo, whether it’s (Ahtyba) Rubin in the game, whether it’s Billy Winn, I believe in our players that they will be accountable and do the job to the best of their ability.”
How big?: Nobody would bite on the question of whether the loser of Sunday’s game is eliminated from playoff contention, but Rubin came close.
“This game’s like our season,” Rubin said. “If we don’t’ pull out a win here, I don’t know. This is very, very important to us. We’ve got to do everything to win.”
Tight end Jordan Cameron said: “We just view it as Steelers week. That in itself is a huge game for us and the city. Every game from here on out is going to be a big game.”
Running back Willis McGahee said: “I think if you lose any game, you’re going to be behind the eight ball. They still have to play Baltimore again. We just need to take care of what we need to do. Just focus on us.”
The Browns, Steelers and Ravens are three of six teams with 4-6 records in the hunt for the AFC sixth playoff berth. The leaders are the Jets and Miami, both 5-5.
The Steelers have a quick turnaround after Sunday’s game to play in Baltimore on Thanksgiving night.
No concerns: The Browns worked out three punters on Tuesday, including ex-Steeler Zoltan Mesko. But it wasn’t because of Spencer Lanning’s two blocked (or deflected) punts in Cincinnati.
Coach Rob Chudzinski disclosed that Lanning’s left (plant leg) knee was swelled up on Tuesday.
“Since then it’s resolved itself,” Chudzinski said. “He’s practiced full all week long, so really it’s no issue. At that particular time, we just made sure. We wanted to have some guys come in for a workout. Plans were already made and already arranged. They were here so we just decided to work them out anyhow.”
Draft revisit: We won’t get a first-hand look at rookie safety Shamarko Thomas, the player the Steelers drafted in the fourth round with the pick acquired from the Browns. Thomas was ruled out for the second game in a row with an ankle injury. Thomas has been a special teams core player (four tackles) and a sub on defense (22 tackles) … Steelers No. 1 draft pick Jarvis Jones has one sack and 20 tackles. Jones started four games earlier, then was demoted. He started last week for injured LaMarr Woodley. Woodley (calf) was limited for two days of practice this week and is listed questionable.
|Tony Grossi covers the Browns for ESPN 850 WKNR, ESPN 1540 KNR2 and www.espncleveland.com. |
He has covered the Browns with distinction since 1984 and is one of 46 voters for the National Football League Hall of Fame. Email your “Hey Tony” questions to firstname.lastname@example.orgFollow Tony on Twitter @tonygrossi
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