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Need to Know: Teammates rally behind Jabrill Peppers, confident he'll bounce back vs. Steelers

Jabrill Peppers made his only special teams mistake at the worst possible time in Sunday's loss to the Buccaneers. After evading a few tacklers on a punt return in overtime, his second impressive return of the game, he fumbled. And Tampa Bay recovered in great field position. 

What could special teams coordinator Amos Jones say to the guy? 

"You do not want to go to him too quick because he is visually upset," Jones said. "You try to tell him that he was making a great play, and you just have to make sure that you tell him to take care of the football."

Tampa kicked the game-winning field goal because Peppers didn't take good enough care of the ball, but that's behind him now. Peppers has made peace with his mistake, and he won't let it affect him going forward. 

"One play does not define me in my career," Peppers said. "It is what it is. Unfortunate, but it is what it is."

Jones said Peppers' teammates were supportive of him during Monday's film session.

"When your teammates appreciate you, you can get over it a lot easier sometimes – not going to forget it because of the situation, but it was good to show," Jones said. "We have some guys that are stepping up in leadership roles, and I thought that it was pretty neat of those guys."

— The NFL addressed – either indirectly or directly -- two of the Browns' officiating-related complaints this week. The league parted ways with the official who missed a false start penalty against the Chargers, and admitted that the controversial hit on Baker Mayfield in last week's loss to Tampa Bay should've been flagged. 

That doesn't change the outcome of the play, though. So now what? 

"To me, there has to be a way to have everybody be more accountable so that we can make it right," Browns coach Hue Jackson said. "I said it the other day, I just think that if there was an opportunity to review all of those things that are real obvious, not borderline, I think maybe we can make a lot of it right. I do not know exactly how to do that. I am sure that there is a way, if we put all of our heads together, to figure it out."

Jackson wants more reviews, no matter the consequences. Longer games? Interrupted rhythm? Whatever it takes to get the calls right. 

"What is more important?" Jackson asked rhetorically. "Is it the time and length or is it getting it right and making it a game? There are fans that are upset (about the missed calls) Everybody is upset (about the missed calls). Let's see if we can get it right. That is the way that I feel about it."

—The forecast in Pittsburgh this weekend calls for rain. The surface at Heinz Field has always caused problems. 

Players might slip; they might not be able to run at top speed. But as long as they wear the right cleats, Jones said they'll have a better chance. 

"It really goes back to the players and their ability with the cleats," Jones said. "To put the right cleat on and to trust their footing."

Screw-in cleats, to be exact. Players will wear cleats with studs that screw into the bottom to combat the weather this weekend. 

Rookie Tavierre Thomas, who downed the punt that led to Trevon Coley's safety last week, has never played at Heinz Field. He doesn't know what to expect. He said he'll walk around the field before getting dressed to try to feel what the surface is like, but he's only received one piece of advice. 

"We need to wear screw-ins," Thomas said. "You stick in the ground easier. Better footing, so you won't be slipping and sliding." 

— Defensive back Damarious Randall (groin, ankle) and center JC Tretter (ankle) are questionable for Sunday but Jackson expects both to play. 

Defensive back E.J. Gaines (concussion protocol), wide receiver Rashard Higgins (knee) and linebacker Joe Schobert (hamstring) will not play.

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