AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens


Bengals QB Joe Burrow watched tape of his 2020 season while rehabbing to get a head start on what he needed to do to improve in 2021.

“There was some good and some bad,” Burrow said, via Albert Breer. “I’d like to be more explosive. And I think I was really good in quick-game situations. On fourth down, we were really good. Empty, we were really good. But we need to be more explosive with play-action passes. All of our downfield passing needs to improve. I just wasn’t as accurate as I was the year before down the field. And that was frustrating to me, because I’ve always been a good down-the-field thrower. Just getting back to the basics of that, really focusing on my fundamentals. I just started running and throwing a few weeks ago, so standing and throwing, and focusing on the fundamentals helped.”

Burrow also mentioned it’s too early to tell how his torn ACL recovery will impact the way he plays.

“I don’t know how mobile I’ll be yet, it’s too early to tell if I’ll feel normal evading the rush and doing all that,” Burrow said. “But I’m optimistic, I feel good right now. We’ll just have to wait and see until camp, how that’s gonna feel. … I’m really doing everything, at this point, it’s just getting my leg stronger. It’s hard to say how explosive I’m going to be in the run game as of right now.”

Bengals HC Zac Taylor said the team wanted to make sure Burrow had a say in personnel, including having him along in free agent meetings.

“He needed to be a part of that,” Taylor says. “People want to play with him, so having him there just became a natural part of the process. And he wanted to be there.”


  • Browns HC Kevin Stefanski refused to have any negative input on players who aren’t in attendance at OTAs: “The guys that are here will get coached up and the guys that aren’t here, we’ll see them for mandatory minicamp.” (Aditi Kinkhabwala)
  • Stefanski called Browns DE Myles Garrett a “leader of this team” and praised his work on and off the field.  (Scott Petrak)
  • Stefanski called sixth-round Demetric Felton a versatile player and he’s been attending running back and receiver meetings: “Versatility is a big deal.” (Scott Petrak)


It can be frustrating playing receiver for the Ravens and WR Marquise Brown was not immune to that last season, as he dealt with drops and gripes about his number of targets. Baltimore’s passing attack got even more crowded at receiver this offseason, which has led to some speculation they could open up what’s been the most run-heavy attack in football the past two seasons. Brown says he’s fine either way. 

“Our expectation is to score a lot of points — however we do that,” Brown said via the Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec. “If that’s with the least amount of pass attempts, if that’s with the most pass attempts — we want to take advantage of everything we get and score the most points we possibly can each and every game.”

  • Ravens WRs coach Tee Martin said first-round WR Rashod Bateman is showing that he’s eager to learn so far this offseason: “He’s doing what you want rookies to do — and that’s stay hungry and have a thirst for more work and really start to set the stage for your whole career.” (Jamison Hensley)

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