AFC North Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

The offensive line was already a question mark for the Bengals even before injuries hit the position hard this summer. Andre Smith, signed in July, currently projects as the starting left tackle. While any NFL team would be in trouble starting its third-string left tackle, Cincinnati believes the new scheme being implemented by HC Zac Taylor will help mitigate that weakness. 

“We believe in the scheme,” Taylor said via the Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. “We do think it helps our tackles and the linemen in general. We bring everything together. That’s the thing we’ve believed in for several years now. The players are believing in it. It’s built to take some pressure off those guys up front when you can.”

Bengals WR John Ross says he feels completely recovered from his hamstring injury and should be ready for Week 1. For a player as reliant on speed as Ross, that type of injury has been debilitating both physically and mentally. He’s tried to put it out of his mind as he recovers and so far he’s succeeded.

“It hasn’t been bothering me. It’s not something that… Like I’m supposed to be wearing a sleeve. I told our trainer, ‘I forgot.’ But I didn’t feel it. But he was like, ‘That’s a great thing.’ It’s something that I’m obviously going to keep an eye on just because it’s smart. I’ve never had a hamstring problem — ever. It’s something that I remember when I did it, I was like, ‘This thing is never going to get better.’ But, it definitely got better and I feel better.”

  • Bengals CB Darqueze Dennard was upset with the team’s decision to place him on the PUP list to start the season. Dennard had a knee procedure in May but didn’t have any setbacks and believes he is 100 percent ready to play. 
  • The Bengals tried to claim former Seahawks LB Austin Calitro, who was awarded to the Jaguars. (Field Yates)
  • Bengals LT Cordy Glenn remains in the concussion protocol. (Dehner)

Browns

  • Per ESPN’s Jake Trotter, Browns HC Freddie Kitchens said WR Odell Beckham would be “ready to go” Sunday against the Titans. 
  • Kitchens added the Browns would start Eric Kush at right guard for now. (Nate Ulrich)
  • Kitchens recent trade acquisition WR Taywan Taylor, who was drafted and played for Tennessee up until last week, was fitting in well: “He can run, can’t he? He’s come in and kind of immersed himself in the offense. Still learning.” (Erik Bacharach)

Ravens

  • Per Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Ravens HC John Harbaugh said he didn’t have any contact with the Dolphins concerning their head coaching vacancy this offseason.
  • Harbaugh isn’t sure if CB Tavon Young will have neck surgery or not. (Jeff Zrebiec)

Steelers

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said first-round LB Devin Bush has a chance to play a “significant role” this season. 

“We got some young guys who have a chance to play significant roles for us, but we also understand it is their first time in a (NFL) stadium,” Tomlin said, via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “So we got to manage some of that, some of the Devin Bushes of the world, and guys like that who have a chance to be big components of what we do. But you have to balance that with the fact it is their first time stepping in a stadium.

Tomlin added that Bush’s performance early on in the regular season will dictate how much playing time he receives throughout 2019. 

In the long term, those answers will be based on how he performs, based on the amount of work we give him,” Tomlin said. “There’s a certain element that won’t be answered as you step into a stadium in Week 1. But I’m comfortable knowing there’s a lot of things you can’t answer on a Tuesday when you haven’t been in a stadium yet. We’ll know more about ourselves when we walk out of that stadium, as will all the other 31 teams in the NFL.”

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