AFC North Notes: Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Browns

  • According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s Mary Kay Cabot, DT Gerald McCoy‘s agent gave the Browns a final chance to increase their offer before signing with the Panthers, but the Browns declined. 
  • Cabot says she can’t see RB Duke Johnson remaining on the team after comments by QB Baker Mayfield and HC Freddie Kitchens
  • Per Cabot, Mayfield looked displeased listening to Johnson’s interview where he reiterated his trade request, calling his situation “self-inflicted” and adding, “you’re either on this train or you’re not, it’s moving.”
  • Cabot thinks the Browns will get an offer for Johnson during training camp or early in the season after a different team loses a running back to injury.
  • Cabot believes Johnson is worth more than a late-round pick because of his ability as a receiver, but that the Browns can replace him with current third-string RB Dontrell Hilliard without much of a dropoff. 
  • Cabot mentions the Browns would likely be interested in Redskins OT Trent Williams if Washington were to make him available. 

Ravens

The Ravens made upgrading their wide receivers a priority during the draft, spending a first and a third-round pick on the position. But the biggest improvement could come from a player on last year’s roster, WR Chris Moore

“It’s up to the player to make the move and do something about it,” HC John Harbaugh said via Ryan Mink of the team’s website. “But I would say Chris is ready to do that and has been ready to do that. He practices really hard, he works hard in the weight room, he knows the offense very well, and he makes spectacular catches out here very often.” 

Ravens QB coach James Urban has seen improvement from QB Lamar Jackson during spring practices. 

“You’re always chasing consistency,” Urban said via ESPN’s Dan Graziano. “Consistency in terms of throwing accurately, the mechanics involved, repeating the motion. They certainly haven’t been eliminated, but there are much fewer, ‘Where-did-that-come-froms’ this year when we watch him practice. It looks better in many ways. The ball comes out cleaner, the timing looks better.”

Steelers

Steelers’ DE Stephon Tuitt‘s $13.6 million cap hit is third on the team, but the veteran has yet to make a Pro Bowl. He hopes to change that this year by turning more plays into sacks. 

“It’s finishing, being a better finisher,” Tuitt said. “Once I become a better finisher, I’ll be more dominant and make more plays for the team.”

Meanwhile, Steelers LB T.J. Watt is coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance after his second season and is ready to make an even bigger impact. 

“Early on, you just don’t want to make a mistake,” Watt said via Kevin Gorman of Triblive.com. “And you get into Year 2, and you kind of take more chance. Then, in Year 3, you can try to take a lot more chances and try to make more splash.”

That impact could also include stepping into more of a leadership role with the team, though that doesn’t happen all at once. 

“It’s just a gradual kind of feeling-out process of where you are in your [peer] group,” said Watt. “You can’t just wake up one day and say, ‘I’m going to be a leader. I’m going to start talking.’ I think it’s over time. It’s earning respect just being a hard worker and doing all the little things right. And you kind of feel out where you are. And if you want to start talking and guys start responding, you just kind of keep going with it.”

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