AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens


New Bengals DT D.J. Reader was one of Cincinnati’s biggest targets during free agency — literally. But the former Texans nose tackle has worked to shed weight after signing a four-year, $53 million deal with the Bengals and he’s now down to 320 pounds. 

“I want to do the things that are going to make me a better player this year,” Reader said via Geoff Hobson of the team website. “Maybe get a little more quicker. My reps might go up, you never know. I wanted to be prepared for everything. I wanted to make sure I’m going to be in the best shape of my career. Play better and yet still be strong.”

Bengals DL coach Nick Eason confirmed the team has a much bigger role in mind for Reader in 2020. While part of impetus for signing Reader was adding more depth to their defensive line and preventing any one player from taking too many snaps, they also don’t want to limit the situations they can deploy him on the field. 

“We talked about that level of expectation we’re going to have for him,” Eason said. “He’s going to be involved in our sub-packages and every package we have. His role is going to be expanded with us. His role is going to more than in Houston.”


  • Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer could see Browns OC Alex Van Pelt using RB Kareem Hunt in multiple ways, including at “tailback, fullback, in the wishbone, split out wide, lined up in the slot and more.”
  • Cabot believes Browns QB Baker Mayfield is “buying into” HC Kevin Stefanski’s run-oriented, play-action based scheme and pointed out how successful Stefanski was with Vikings QB Kirk Cousins last season.
  • Cabot thinks the Browns are still trying to sign DE Jadeveon Clowney with their $37 million in cap space. However, Cabot doesn’t think the Browns are willing to meet Clowney’s $17 million demands. 


Ravens QB Robert Griffin has found a niche as a backup quarterback in Baltimore behind Lamar Jackson, stabilizing a career that had careened off the rails. While Griffin is in a perfect situation for his talents, he revealed that he hasn’t resigned himself to being a backup for the rest of his NFL career. 

“I do want to be a starter again,” Griffin said on 1660 ESPN via NBC Sports Washington’s Ethan Cadeaux. “I’m 30 years old. Quarterbacks are playing into their 40s now. There’s a lot of time left to still go achieve all the dreams and goals I set for myself.”

  • Over The Cap’s Nick Korte lists Ravens OT Orlando Brown and TE Mark Andrews as players who are helped by the new CBA’s PPE rules and are on track to get raises in their fourth season. 

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