AFC North Notes: Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Browns

New Browns HC Kevin Stefanski said TE Austin Hooperchecked those boxes” as a playmaker and allows them to use “multiple tight end” schemes. 

Austin, right away, checked those boxes and I think adding a really good player at that position, I thought that made a ton of sense. Again, credit to Andrew [Berry] and his group for identifying him, for getting that deal done because this system that we’re running, we certainly want to use tight ends, multiple tight ends and Austin has a versatility, he’s played in schemes similar to what we’re going to do, he’s a talented football player, he’s young, he’s smart, it kind of checked a ton of boxes as we looked towards what we want to add to this group.’’

Ravens

  • Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman says there is interest in QB Jameis Winston from teams, though more from the front office side than coaches, who note how even respected HC Bruce Arians couldn’t fix Winston’s turnover issues.
  • One AFC assistant coach said the Ravens could be a potential fit: “One of the best offensive staffs in football.”

Steelers 

New Steelers TE Eric Ebron says he met with QB Ben Roethlisberger back in January and is hoping they will be able to become best friends.

“I just told him, ‘Yeah, I’m a free agent, I don’t know where it’s headed,’” Ebron said via ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. “He was excited about it. Maybe he pulled a string or two, who knows?”

“If I could be Big Ben’s best friend, kind of like how it was with Andrew,” Ebron said. “I was always in his ear, in his pocket, just trying to figure out the game through their lens. They’re elite minds at this level and it’s just, I just want to understand his language, understand his view from his focal point on how things are with the playbook. … I just ask him questions about anything right now, just trying to get to know him and start early.”

Ebron’s role wasn’t discussed when he met with Steelers HC Mike Tomlin, but Tomlin told him he would be used in a way that maximizes him to the best of his abilities.

Steelers GM Kevin Colbert had high praise for Ebron in a conference call with reporters Tuesday.

“When he was healthy, he really did some nice things, especially the year he had,” Colbert said of Ebron’s 2018 Pro Bowl season. “He had Andrew Luck playing with him. There’s definitely athleticism, there’s red zone production, there’s run after the catch. He’s really a premier kind of receiving tight end for this league when he’s healthy.”

While some speculate Ebron’s decision to have surgery last year frustrated the Colts and took them by surprise, he says they were aware of what was going on and that he timed the surgery so that he would be fully healthy by the start of the next football season.

“That was simply my choice for my health standpoint and it leaned upon nobody else,” Ebron said. “… I was hurt, and nobody likes to play hurt.”

  • Bleacher Report’s Mike Freeman says there is interest in QB Jameis Winston from teams, though more from the front office side than coaches, who note how even respected HC Bruce Arians couldn’t fix Winston’s turnover issues.
  • One AFC assistant coach said the Steelers could be a potential fit: “He fits into what they do pretty well, and you know Ben [Roethlisberger] will miss a few games [due to injury].”
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