AFC North Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

  • According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, Bengals HC Zac Taylor should be safe even if Cincinnati finishes 0-16. 
  • After initially saying Bengals WR A.J. Green would likely play this Sunday against the Ravens, Taylor said Green didn’t feel great after walkthroughs and went for treatments instead of practice. He’s now “day by day.” (Tom Pelissero)
  • Bengals CB Dre Kirkpatrick won’t play this week against Baltimore as he still continues rehabbing a hyperextended knee, MCL bruise and hamstring tear from the last time the Bengals played the Ravens: “I’m close, but not really close.” (Tom Pelissero)

Browns

  • According to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora, Browns HC Freddie Kitchens might need to oversee major improvement in the second half of the season in order to keep his job for a second year. 
  • Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman writes there’s chatter around the league that the Browns might end up trading WR Odell Beckham if they can’t get things turned around, with two NFC team officials thinking Beckham pushes his way out: “The vultures will be circling if the Browns keep sucking.”
  • Freeman adds there’s growing belief in league circles that Kitchens could be fired by the end of the season. 
  • Browns G Wyatt Teller will likely keep the starting right guard job for another week. (Nate Ulrich)

Ravens

A major headline during the pre-draft process for Ravens QB Lamar Jackson was a quote by former Colts GM Bill Polian who suggested Jackson should consider switching to wide receiver given his athleticism and what Polian thought were questionable passing abilities. Now that Jackson is an MVP candidate, Polian is ready to admit his initial assessment missed the mark. 

“I was wrong, because I used the old, traditional quarterback standard with him, which is clearly why John Harbaugh and Ozzie Newsome were more prescient than I was,” Polian said via USA Today’s Jarrett Bell. “And (Ravens OC Greg Roman) found a way in how he’s developed a system to use those dynamic skills. Bottom line, I was wrong.”

  • Ravens G Marshal Yanda missed practice Wednesday with an illness. (Jeff Zrebiec)
  • New Ravens WR De’Anthony Thomas was headed to work out for the Buccaneers when Baltimore called with an offer. Thomas worked out for the Ravens last week and was told it went well, but to be patient. (Zrebiec)

Steelers

Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster is on pace to see a major statistical regression this season. After catching 111 passes for 1,426 yards in 2018, Smith-Schuster’s current pace in 2019 has him looking at a final stat line of 66 catches for less than 1,000 yards. Steelers HC Mike Tomlin says the stats don’t tell the entire story, though.

“I have no issues with how he has handled himself in some of those matchups,” Tomlin said via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Statistics might not tell the story because of a lot of things going on around him. I like his work. I like his professionalism. I like how he wins his one-on-ones. Hopefully, it’s a catalyst for us getting more traction and consistently moving the ball offensively.”

  • The Steelers hosted WR Terry Wright for a visit on Tuesday. (Aaron Wilson)
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