Buffalo Bills quarterback EJ Manuel will likely be returning to the starting lineup this week - though it has not yet been made official - against a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that is fuming mad following a 55-31 loss to New England. Even though the Steelers gave up those 55 points and 610 yards of offense, which set franchise lows in both categories, Bills head coach Doug Marrone doesn't imagine them repeating the performance.
"We will get their best game," Marrone said Wednesday of the struggles the Steelers have gone through. He also spoke highly of head coach Mike Tomlin and veteran defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.
"Dick LeBeau - and I have always said this - I have always thought that he is one the toughest, if not the toughest defensive coordinator, at least I know from my point when I was heavily involved in the game planning and the protection, I always thought that he did the best job in breaking down people's protections," Marrone continued.
Manuel, who has missed the Bills' last four games, has obviously never played against LeBeau or the Steelers - but that doesn't mean he hasn't seen the defense. Ray Horton, defensive coordinator of the Cleveland Browns, worked under LeBeau as the Steelers' defensive backs coach for two long stretches totaling 11 years, and has since taken the defense to Arizona and the Cleveland outfit that Manuel last saw in Week 5. The defenses are not precisely the same, of course - Horton is a bit more exotic with formations - but the ways they attack offenses with the blitz are largely similar.
Flip through the gallery above for a look at how the Browns chose to blitz the Bills in that fateful October 3 game that saw Manuel injured (which isn't covered above, and also came on a non-blitz play, for the record). Cleveland spent a good deal of time rushing four and, out of their base defense, five, but as is the LeBeau/Horton custom, they also sent a lot of blitzes - with mixed results.