When I was with the Browns, we played at Pittsburgh every season. Tomorrow, I know it's gonna be very cold, very windy, and the fans are gonna be very irritating with the Terrible Towels. It drives you crazy. I mean, it works for them—it's a great atmosphere to play in if you're a Steeler, but those towels drive me crazy. Pittsburgh's always very good at the outside linebacker position, and the D-line positions. That's where they get a lot of push and make a lot of their plays. The grass is gonna be long, the field is gonna be tricky, not to mention they're playing pretty good ball on top of everything else. It's definitely not gonna be any easier than playing at Foxboro. I'm from cold weather, so cold weather doesn't really bother me—but it's gonna be 25ish, that wind's gonna come up like it always does in that stadium, and as a 4:15 game, it's gonna lead into the nighttime, and the wind always comes up in that stadium. So we've got to bring our A-game, be relaxed, and do what we know how to do.
We took our second loss in a row against a divisional opponent last week, so that's not where we wanted to be at, especially toward the end of the season when we're trying to get home-field advantage. We went from having the opportunity to lock up the playoffs with a win against New England, to possibly locking up the playoffs with a win against the Dolphins, to now needing to stay the course or we might be in jeopardy of not going to the playoffs, as crazy as that sounds.
We've simplified the offense for the most part—trying to take a lot of plays off, so that we don't have to do as much thinking, so that Mark can just get back there and do what he's good at, and just get the ball in the hands of playmakers like LaDainian, Santonio, Dustin, Jericho.
We just need to get back to having fun playing football. Thinking back to that first Patriots game, we'd gotten into a rhythm of just playing football, having fun with it, making plays. Once we got to 7-2 and 8-2, I think everybody started getting a little tight. And that was especially the case going into that game against the Patriots. I think we got caught up in everyone talking about that game, a little distracted by the lore. So we were having trouble doing a lot of the things that had come easily to us earlier in the season—just playing the kind of football that we'd practiced all season, back to OTAs and training camp. We've gotten away from those concepts. So I think that's what we're trying to do going forward: get back to easy football, football that doesn't have to be logic-defying.
I think a prime area of concern, looking back, is that the little mistakes were let go when we were winning these games in crunchtime. We were thinking, Okay, well, we got the win, when in reality we had a lot of mistakes. We were thinking, Oh, we'll get it taken care of, instead of reflecting in hindsight: You know what? That was the Cleveland Browns we almost just lost to. That was the Detroit Lions we almost just lost to. That was the Houston Texans—who weren't playing like the Houston Texans—that took us for all we had.
Even when we're struggling, or trying to work on some problems, Rex knows how to be serious when he needs to be serious, and knows when to have fun—and I give him a lot of credit for that. He knows how to find the fun in even the most serious situations—and I think that's what needs to happen now. Practice wasn't any longer this week. We know that we're not playing our best ball, but that we can correct what we're doing without reinventing the wheel. We know that the only changes we need to make are on offense. Our defense has been doing an excellent job, especially last week, only giving up the one touchdown after we'd given the Dolphins great field position to begin with. We on offense just have to get ourselves together by simplifying, having fun, and not sweating the little things—and that's what we've been doing all week.
— Braylon Edwards