Brownie Bites: Juan Thornhill returns to practice as Browns focus on Monday, not nightmarish history in Pittsburgh


BEREA, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – Following a dominating debut last week, the Browns secondary got a shot in the arm Thursday.

Here’s our top Brownie Bites as Steelers week continues into the weekend.

He’s back – Safety Juan Thornhill returned to practice after missing the previous three workdays and the season opener with a calf injury. Fortunately for the Browns they didn’t miss the two-time Super Bowl champion in the opener but adding him to a defense that dominated the Bengals is exciting. “It’s going to be scary man,” safety Grant Delpit said. “Juan had a little preview of what he could do in KC, pick six, and so we trying to carry that momentum man. He’s got great ball skills, smart guy, two Super Bowl rings. So yeah man, we have a pretty deep room so don’t be surprised.” Delpit along with cornerbacks Greg Newsome II and Denzel Ward were credited with pass breakups in the 24-3 victory. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin credited the victory to Cleveland’s corners but Ward wasn’t having it. “We played complimentary football,” Ward said. “I mean it wasn’t just the corners out there that won that game, it was the rushing attack, Chubb, the offensive line. Our D-line did a great job getting pressure out there, getting the ball out and we were able to hold up and do our job as well on the backend….It is the greatest team game there is, and we all did our job and executed and found a way to get a win.”

Nightmares in Pittsburgh – The Browns haven’t won a regular season game in Pittsburgh since 2003, which was news to some in the locker room. “Oh dang, I didn’t know that,” Delpit said. “But man, it's a new year. It's a new year. They got a great team. Obviously they’ve had our number I guess for a few years now. So going there, take care of business, we’re not too worried about that. They have a great team, great coaches, crazy fans, so it's going to be a heck of an atmosphere.” The Steelers have dominated the Browns since 1999 to the tune of 38-9-1 overall but Acrishure Stadium, previously known as Heinz Field, has been a house of horrors for the Browns. “It’s a tough place to play,” left guard Joel Bitonio said. “We haven’t had too much success there as an organization, and we know anytime you go there, especially on Monday night, they have a really good history of winning games there. So for us it’s a huge challenge.”

To Bitonio’s point, the Steelers have won their last 20 at home on Monday Night Football. “They’re a tough team,” cornerback Denzel Ward said. “Great rushing attack, always had great receivers, great defense. They’re just a tough team, just the AFC. They’re going to bring that competitive nature to the game and we’re going to have to go out there and match that.” As the longest tenured Brown, Bitonio has suffered the most in Pittsburgh through losses, quarterback changes and coaches getting fired on the way home. “I would love to win a game there,” Bitonio said. “I really hadn’t even thought about it. When you go through the season, obviously we haven’t won a game since I’ve been there, a regular season game there, so it’d be good if we got that win, but as a team we don’t talk about that too much.”

Monday night lights – All eyes – at least the ones not watching the Saints and Panthers – will be on the Browns and Steelers as Cleveland seeks their first 2-0 start to the season since 1993. “I think every opportunity we get to go out there in front of the cameras, in front of the fans, is a chance to showcase what we’re capable of,” Ward said. A win would certainly put a few people on notice the Browns are for real. “I’m sure that not a lot of people had us high on their radar coming to the season,” Delpit said. “We did, that’s all that mattered really. I don’t pay too much attention to what they say on the TV, they get paid to do that. So it’s a good opportunity for us to go out, show what we could do. Nothing too much else to say. For myself, I do the same thing, I keep a low profile and just let my play do the talking, to be honest.”

Meh milestone – Receiver Amari Cooper is two catches away from 600 for his career but his enthusiasm for hitting such a milestone is meh at best. “It’s just numbers at the end of the day,” Cooper said. “If it meant that much to me, then I would’ve known that it was 598. So, at the end of the day, it’s just numbers. I just do my job. Obviously, I want a lot of catches, but a 600-catch milestone doesn’t mean much.”

Century mark – Monday night Bitonio is scheduled to start his 100th consecutive game after injuries forced him to miss 17 games combined over his second and third seasons in the league. “I know early in my career I felt like I was unlucky and football’s one of those things where we saw Jack [Conklin] the other day - a half a second earlier, half a second later, and he’s probably still playing. So it is a lot of luck. But to be out there with the guys anytime you get a chance to play is pretty special. So I’m taking every game one game at a time, but it’ll definitely be something I can look at after the game and be like, that’s pretty cool.” Bitonio’s 130 career starts trail only Hall of Famer Joe Thomas’ 167 for the most since 1999 for the franchise.

Quote of the day – “Let me know if Mean Joe [Greene] and Jack Lambert are playing, because if we need a plan for Franco Harris or Lynn Swann or John Stallworth or Franco or Terry Bradshaw, we’ll get that ready,” defensive coordinator Schwartz said. “But those guys aren’t playing. This is a new year. This is a new year. So what’s happened in the past, that doesn’t mean anything to this game. We have respect for them. We always respect our opponents, but we’re going to accentuate us and what we do well and try to give our best performance and not worry about the rest of the league or what's happened in the past or what’s going to happen ten weeks down the road.”

Injury report – DNP: DT Siaki Ika (foot); LIMITED: DT Shelby Harris (Achilles), DT Maurice Hurst (hamstring), S Juan Thornhill (calf); LIMITED: LT Jedrick Wills Jr. (foot); FULL: LG Joel Bitonio (rest), WR Amari Cooper (rest), DE Myles Garrett (rest), LB Anthony Walker (rest)

Featured Image Photo Credit: Daryl Ruiter-92.3 The Fan