1. Tyrod Taylor's debut
No other position has quite flummoxed the Browns like quarterback over the past two decades. Tyrod Taylor is here to change that this season. Cleveland traded for the veteran signal-caller this spring after Taylor lifted the Buffalo Bills to their first playoff appearance in 17 years. Taylor is at the head of a new-look offense that features new faces such as wide receiver Jarvis Landry and running back Carlos Hyde and familiar ones like Josh Gordon, Duke Johnson and David Njoku.
2. Myles Garrett hopes to be a difference-maker
If second-year defensive end Myles Garrett is on the cusp of a breakout season, then it starts this weekend against Pittsburgh. The former first overall NFL Draft pick demonstrated flashes of dominance throughout the preseason and hopes to continue that trend Sunday.
"I want to be dominant. I know that the D-line wants to do the same things," Garrett said. "We're all on the same page. We have a plan to get there and keep them from dominating the game and to go out there and enact that."
Garrett, who led the team with seven sacks in 11 games last year despite a nagging ankle injury, spent the offseason restoring his body to full strength. So far, it's paid dividends. "Going from injured to healthy, that's leaps and bounds. I am able to cut better. I am just better overall," he said. "I am better able to use my strength and able to use my quickness. I am going to be able to put that on display."
3. Desmond Harrison's debut
The Browns named rookie Desmond Harrison their starting left tackle Friday, filling the massive void left by perennial Pro Bowler Joe Thomas, who retired in March after 11 seasons. "When he came here, we were very excited about him. There were some things that he did at OTAs. You could see it," Jackson said. "Then it got be to how bad did he want to be the left tackle. He just kept working. Just put his head down and worked. It's one heck of a story, but it doesn't matter until game day. He has to go do it."
Harrison emerged as the starting left tackle after missing most of training camp with a toe injury. He joins a new-look offensive line that returns starters in left guard Joel Bitonio, center JC Tretter and right guard Kevin Zeitler. The Browns signed former right tackle Chris Hubbard in free agency last spring.
4. No Le'Veon Bell
The Steelers will almost certainly be without star running back Le'Veon Bell this weekend. Bell, the three-time Pro Bowler, has yet to report to the team over an ongoing contract dispute. Jackson, however, made clear the Browns will still have their work cut out for them against a Pittsburgh team that still features two of the league's best in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown.
"They can beat each other up for all we care. It doesn't matter. Whatever comes out of Pittsburgh is in Pittsburgh," he said. "We know what the focus is for us. It is not about Le'Veon not being there or what their team feels or thinks. It is about what we do on Sunday. To me, we just have to go play. We are not going to worry about them in that way."