AFC North Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens

     

Bengals

The Bengals are looking at potentially starting fourth-round G Michael Jordan at left guard as they try to sort out the best offensive line configuration for the regular season. The loss of first-round OT Jonah Williams to a season-ending shoulder injury pushed presumed LG starter Cordy Glenn out to left tackle. Jordan started the preseason opener and has been working with the first-team in recent days at camp. 

“That was the plan going into today, to get Mike some work,” Bengals HC Zac Taylor said via the Athletic’s Jay Morrison. “He showed some things during that game. There’s a lot of potential there. He’s not there yet. He’s still a young player. But he certainly has the skill set we’re looking for. That’s why we drafted him. He’s got the football IQ to make it work. And so we’re giving him an opportunity.”

The Bengals didn’t stop the shuffling at guard. Cincinnati worked in Trey Hopkins at starting center, shuttling 2018 first-round C Billy Price to the second team in something of a surprising move. 

“There’s no incumbents here,” Taylor said. “You have to earn the job. We want to give (Hopkins) a shot because he’s earned that right. He played well in that first game. And Billy’s played well, too. It has nothing to do with anything that way. Everybody is in a battle right now, and that’s the way it’s going to go until we play Seattle.”

  • The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. expects the Bengals to wait a year before starting extension talks with CB William Jackson since they still have the fifth-year option. 
  • While the Bengals don’t typically discuss extensions during the season, Dehner says the team makes exceptions for extenuating circumstances, which would presumably include WR A.J. Green who’s coming back from an ankle injury suffered during training camp. 
  • Dehner adds there are a number of complications surrounding Green’s extension, including his health, his age (he just turned 31) and the $20 million extension signed by Saints WR Michael Thomas, that could push negotiations until after the season.
  • Dehner mentions that contract negotiations for RB Joe Mixon could become complicated. Mixon will be entering a contract year in 2020 and recently tweeted “#PayZeke #PayMelvin” referencing Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott and Chargers RB Melvin Gordon, both who are holding out in pursuit of new deals. 
  • Dehner believes fourth-round QB Ryan Finley has won the backup competition given the Bengals are working QB Jeff Driskel at receiver and in special teams drills. 
  • Driskel is still working at quarterback but hopes to latch onto the roster in a Taysom Hill-stye role: “I just want to show that I can add value to this team in other ways and show that I want to contribute and can contribute.” (Jay Morrison)

Browns

Browns WR Jarvis Landry said the team is supportive of WR Antonio Callaway as he serves a four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy due to marijuana. 

He already has his support system,’’ said Landry, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “He continues to grow with that. As players we stand behind Antonio. We’re here for him. Whenever he wants to talk, we talk to him. It’s just the relationship that we have and everybody goes through things. We need people to be there for him and we’re there for him.’’

Cabot reports that Callaway entered an intensive treatment program this offseason and was drug tested up to 10 times per month without any slipups. 

Landry believes that Callaway has “all of the tools” to be a “hell of a player.” 

The kid has all the abilities,’’ Landry said. “He has all of the tools to be a guy that can make plays at a high level. He has the speed, the catching ability, the route-running, all of those things. If we can get that altogether, he’s going to be a hell of a player.’’

Ravens

  • According to the Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec, Ravens CB Jimmy Smith tweaked his leg and tried to play through it Monday, but ultimately had to sit out. 
  • The Ravens are also taking it easy with CB Tavon Young, LB Matt Judon and G Marshal Yanda
  • Ravens QB Lamar Jackson says the game has slowed down for him this year after his head was spinning as a rookie: “This year, I’m a lot more comfortable.” (Zrebiec)
  • Ravens first-round WR Marquise Brown was a full participant in practice Tuesday. (Jamison Hensley)
  • Ravens HC John Harbaugh said the team would continue to monitor the rookie Brown as they work to ramp him up for the season: “We’ll see how he feels from one day to the next. I think part of it is getting strong from the reps. He’s been healing, so he hasn’t been running. There are muscles in there that need to be trained. He looked great today.” (Hensley)
  • The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec writes Ravens WR Michael Floyd has kept himself in the conversation for a roster spot by playing well while WR Seth Roberts has been hurt. Zrebiec adds WR Jaleel Scott has performed well during camp and could make a push as a sixth receiver. 
  • According to Zrebiec, G Jermaine Eluemunor has continued to work with the starters at left guard, but he’s been pushed by rookie UDFA Patrick Mekari and his roster spot isn’t secure. 
  • Although he’s played well, CB Maurice Canady‘s injury hurts his chances at the final roster given the Ravens’ depth in the secondary. 
  • Zrebiec says LB Tim Williams has put together a strong stretch to secure not only a roster spot, but a role on the defense. Meanwhile, LB Tyus Bowser has slowed after a good start to camp and LB Shane Ray is currently on the outside looking in at outside linebacker. 
  • Zrebiec notes RB Kenneth Dixon has looked good but hasn’t had a lot of reps or worked on special teams which is odd for a player who was thought to need a strong preseason to make the team. 

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