AFC North Notes: Bengals, Browns, Steelers

     

Bengals

  • Over The Cap’s Jason Fitzgerald has the Colts ranked in the first tier in his cap health index for 2021, which measures a team’s estimated cap space, cap flexibility and pending free agents. 

Browns

  • Asked if 2020 was a make-or-break season for him, Browns QB Baker Mayfield acknowledged it was important since Cleveland will have to make a decision on his fifth-year option: “There no doubt that year three is always a big deal with these contracts, timing-wise…If I play better, our team is going to do better.” (Andrew Siciliano)

Steelers

Steelers S Minkah Fitzpatrick said predominantly lining up at safety led to a lot of success last season, but he is comfortable lining up at cornerback or linebacker if needed. 

It doesn’t matter to me,” Fitzpatrick said, via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I just like going out there making plays and being where I need to be, and last year where I needed to be was in the middle of the field. It worked out fine. This season, just keep doing what we need to win games. If that’s [playing] corner, linebacker, whatever that may be, that’s what I’m going to do.

Fitzpatrick mentioned that he is much more comfortable with the Steelers’ defensive system after being acquired during the 2019 season. 

“I think last year, coming in at the time I did, I didn’t know the playbook as well as I do now,” Fitzpatrick said. “The coaches wanted to keep it simple for me and they did. I appreciated that. Now, if the coaches want me to move around, I’ll move around. If they don’t, then I don’t need to. I’m trying to learn the system and get it down to a ‘T,’ just in case if they ask me to move, I can move.”

Regarding not having any interceptions over the final seven games of the season, Fitzpatrick believes this was due to teams taking fewer chances downfield against him in coverage. 

“I think teams started taking less shots down the field, taking less shots wherever I was,” Fitzpatrick said. “If I was in the middle of the field, they were not going to be throwing in the middle of the field. If I was in half, they weren’t going to be targeting that area where I was. I don’t know if it was a game plan or decision-making by the quarterback, but I did realize a difference.

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