AFC North Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

The Bengals have dedicated a lot of resources the past two years to fix their offensive line, including drafting OT Jonah Williams in the first round this April. Williams won’t play this year after tearing the labrum in his shoulder, but new HC Zac Taylor says the team will be fine moving Cordy Glenn from left guard back to left tackle. 

“Cordy (Glenn) can move back to left tackle which is where he’s played his whole career. We have a lot of confidence in him there,” Taylor said via Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “It’s unfortunate to lose guys in their rookie year. He had high expectations for himself. But we’ll be good.”

That opens up a competition for left guard. Taylor mentioned free-agent addition John Jerry as well as Christian Westerman and Trey Hopkins as candidates for the starting position. 

“We have a lot of guys in there that can compete for those jobs,” Taylor said. “The left guard spot will be a competition in training camp and we’ll be excited to see what happens there. We have a lot of good guys in the mix who we are counting on to step up and do their job.”

According to Katherine Terrell, Bengals G Clint Boling says he could have played through the blood clot in his right leg, but decided that wasn’t the right decision. He believes the clot’s formation last year was related to playing football.

“If this had never happened, there is no doubt in my mind I’d be playing,” Boling said. “When it comes down to playing an already violent sport where you’re just getting hammered 75 times a Sunday, and that’s not even counting practice … ultimately I just couldn’t (do it)”

Ravens

  • The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec writes this is a key year for Ravens LBs Tim Williams and Tyus Bowser, who will be counted on to step up as pass rushers despite not showing much their first two seasons. 
  • According to Zrebiec, Ravens G Alex Lewis has a chance at a starting position, but his health is a major question mark. 
  • Zrebiec notes the Ravens have big plans for TE Hayden Hurst if the former first-round pick can stay healthy.
  • Zrebiec mentions that CB Cyrus Jones will likely have to prove his value to the team as a return man to stick on the final roster. 
  • Pe Zrebiec, WRs Jaleel Scott and Jordan Lasley are on the roster bubble only a year after being fourth and fifth-round picks respectively.
  • Zrebiec adds RB Kenneth Dixon could find himself off the roster if the Ravens decide not to keep four running backs, as he’s missed 30 games in his first three seasons in the league. 
  • Thanks to his status as a draft pick, Ravens sixth-round QB Trace McSorley has good odds to stick to the final roster, per Zrebiec. He can improve those by showing versatility on offense and special teams like Saints QB Taysom Hill.
  • Zrebiec says LBs Kenny Young and Chris Board are now even in the competition for a starting linebacker spot. Young was a fourth-round pick in 2018, while Board was an undrafted free agent. 

Steelers

Steelers WR Ryan Switzer already has a niche in the NFL as a returner. But the ACC’s career leader in punt return touchdowns has his sights set on making a mark in Pittsburgh at slot receiver now that former slot WR JuJu Smith-Schuster could be spending more time outside. 

“It takes a different kind of guy to work the middle of the field, be able to be on the same page as the quarterback,” Switzer said via Triblive.com’s Jonathan Bombulie. “There’s a lot of different reads and a lot of different adjustments you’ve got to make in the middle of the field. I’m getting the hang of it. I’m, obviously, not there yet, but I’m working on it.”

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