AFC North Notes: Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Browns

Browns QB Baker Mayfield said WRs Odell Beckham Jr. (core) and Jarvis Landry (hip) are recovering well and are “ready to take over” next season. 

“Those guys are working extremely hard,’’ Mayfield said, via Mary Kay Cabot.  “They look really good, and they say they feel really good. It’s just a different mindset going into it. I think they went back to the basics. They’re ready to take over, and it’s their time now. They know that. We only have so many more opportunities together. They’re going to do it and everything for each other. I’m looking forward to seeing the productivity they have.”

Mayfield added that their installations to the offensive system have built a “great foundation” for Stefanski’s scheme. 

“What we’re doing right now in these Zoom meetings and these installs has created a great foundation scheme-wise for being on the same page,’’ Mayfield said. “I’ve enjoyed kind of sitting in and listening in on some of the receiver meetings with (pass game coordinator/wide receivers) Coach (Chad) O’Shea. He’s a very sharp guy, as well.’’

Mayfield believes Landry and Beckham had to overcome mental obstacles in regards to their recoveries from surgery, but the two are “taking advantage” of the added rest this offseason. 

Them being a little bit banged up – well, not a little bit; they had to have surgery – it definitely hindered them, physically obviously but the mental part of it and the frustrations that came from that I think affected it more,’’ Mayfield said. “That’s really frustrating if you’re not able to physically do the things you’re normally capable of doing. For them, I feel that frustration, but like I said earlier, they are taking advantage of this time to get better. I’m looking forward to seeing what they do this year.”

Ravens

  • Jeremy Fowler reports that despite coming up this offseason as a potential trade candidate, franchise OLB Matt Judon expects to remain with the Ravens for the 2020 season. 
  • Ravens HC John Harbaugh said he has really high hopes for second-year WR Miles Boykin. (Jeff Zrebiec)
  • Harbaugh mentioned that first-round LB Patrick Queen will likely play middle linebacker for them: “I think Patrick Queen will probably play at (middle linebacker) for the most part, right there in the middle. Let him use his speed and instincts to run around and make plays in all three phases, be a three-down guy both in our base package and our sub package.
  • According to Harbaugh, veteran CB Jimmy Smith could see some time at safety: “Our defense is based on that premise, the idea that guys can play multiple positions. It’s not unusual for us to move guys around. You’ll see safeties playing linebacker, linebackers playing safety, defensive ends playing middle linebacker. From play-to-play, we really try to keep the offense from understanding who is where and (why).

Steelers

Steelers WR Diontae Johnson said he’s been working out with Ben Roethlisberger this offseason and is building chemistry with him for the 2020 season. 

It’s crazy,” Johnson said, via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “It’s Big Ben. He’s great. Just being able to work out with him this offseason has been good, just trying to get the timing down, get a feel for him, what he likes, what he doesn’t like, how he likes to throw the ball on certain routes. I’m just trying to pick his brain, just trying to get a bond with each other so we could build that trust together.”

Johnson said he had to “prove” himself to the Steelers’ roster that he could contribute to their offense as a playmaker. 

Me and Ben started talking toward the end of the season,” Johnson said. “I had to come in and prove to everyone I could play. As the season went on I started contributing and making plays. He started seeing me make plays and started to interact with me more. It’s just building that trust with one another. I talk with him almost every day now. That’s my guy. We have big things to do this year. We’re trying to win the Super Bowl together.”

Johnson mentioned that he is focused on continuing to prove that he can become a successful receiver with the Steelers. 

It’s been like that since I was in college at Toledo,” said Johnson. “Everybody doesn’t really know me like that. I just have to keep doing what I’m doing, keep working until they respect me. That stuff doesn’t faze me. They don’t really know me or how I work. They can say whatever they want. I’m still going to continue to be me and help the Steelers win.

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