AFC North Notes: Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Browns

  • According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, the Browns are interested in both 49ers passing game coordinator Mike LaFleur and run game coordinator Mike McDaniel for their vacancy at offensive coordinator. 
  • Rapoport adds the Browns are considering 49ers secondary coach Joe Woods, former Rams DC Wade Phillips and current DC Steve Wilks to be the defensive coordinator in 2020. 
  • Rapoport mentions there’s a possibility new Browns WR coach Chad O’Shea could end up as the offensive coordinator as well, though it’s also possible new HC Kevin Stefanski elects to call plays himself and forego having an OC. 
  • CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora writes that Browns ownership made it clear during their search process they expect the team to still be competitive in 2020. 
  • La Canfora quotes one source as calling ownership “delusional” regarding where the team actually is, with another pointing to the major cultural issues that Stefanski will need to fix: “They think they are really close, seriously. They think they are right on the cusp of greatness. I really couldn’t believe it.”
  • Per Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, while having an analytics game management specialist on the headset during games isn’t unusual, the Browns’ method of having that person report to chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta instead of the head coach is. 
  • Breer points out that structure is similar to how MLB uses in-game analytics, and it’s another sign of how DePodesta’s baseball background is heavily influencing the Browns’ approach.
  • Vikings assistant GM George Paton will interview with the Browns again later this week following his interview with owner Jimmy Haslam this weekend. (Ben Goessling)
  • The Browns’ special teams unit finished 2019 ranked 13th in the league. (Rick Gosselin)
  • The Browns are not retaining offensive line coach/assistant head coach James Campen. (Rob Demovsky)
  • Stefanski does plan to retain RB coach Stump Mitchell, however. (Mary Kay Cabot)
  • Cleveland could also retain DB coach DeWayne Walker. (Jake Trotter)

Ravens

  • The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec writes that unless the Ravens fall in love with a running back, he doesn’t see them making the position a priority in the draft. Though starting RB Mark Ingram is 30, he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, and the team still has Gus Edwards and Justice Hill.
  • Zrebiec anticipates Ravens C Matt Skura receiving a second-round tender, though his major knee injury complicates his status. 
  • Zrebiec believes Ravens DT Michael Pierce will be paid more in free agency than what Baltimore is comfortable matching, making defensive line a big need. 
  • Zrebiec adds the Ravens might have to use the franchise tag on LB Matt Judon.
  • Ravens LB L.J. Fort is likely one starting inside linebacker for Baltimore in 2020, but the Ravens need to find another, more reliable player in 2020, per Zrebiec. 
  • Baltimore expects CB Tavon Young to step in at slot corner in 2020 after missing 2019 due to injury. The Ravens could also bring back CBs Brandon Carr and Jimmy Smith.
  • Per the Maven’s Rick Gosselin, the Ravens’ special teams unit finished 2019 ranked 27th in the league. 

Steelers

  • Per the Maven’s Rick Gosselin, the Steelers’ special teams unit finished 2019 ranked 9th in the league. 
  • The Panthers are hiring Steelers front office executive Samir Suleiman to be their new salary cap manager. (Ed Bouchette)
  • Albert Breer says he thought the Steelers may consider moving on from offensive coordinator Randy Fitchner, but the decision to hire Matt Canada as quarterbacks coach should be a “sensible solution.”
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