AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens


With S Jessie Bates and DE Sam Hubbard as the only returning starters from last season’s defense, Bengals’ DC Lou Anarumo knows that the team must make strides in order to help the offense and young QB Joe Burrow find success.

“The fact that we got these practices in, the fact that we’ve been meeting with the guys and doing all this with all the new guys that we have, we feel like we’re exactly where we want to be,” Anarumo said, via Ben Baby of ESPN.

Veteran DT D.J. Reader mentions that the defense is going to have to win games and have the team on their back at times this season.

“We want to have a good defense that is going out there and knowing the game is going to be on us,” Reader said. “We’re excited about that.”


Browns’ DE Jadeveon Clowney commented that the team’s defense is similar to that of the 49ers when they made their most recent trip to the Super Bowl.

“It reminds me of when I watch San Francisco, the same team a couple of years ago that went to the Super Bowl and that defense,” Clowney said, via Scott Petrak of “I am thinking we can do that upfront in ways, rotate guys and guys come in and play well. I am very excited about the rotation of the group. The backups can come in and play just as good as the ones, and that is even better. Any time you have that going on, you have a good group.”

Clowney also added that he doesn’t mind filling in as inside pass rusher, but says that working in the trenches is a completely different world.

“Everything happens quicker down there,” Clowney said. “You have to get into your rush a lot quicker with everything happening, but you are closer to the quarterback so it is a win/lose. It is like everything happens fast, but you are going against a lot of non-athletic guys inside so the matchups are there, and you just take advantage of your matchups.”

One person familiar with the strong rotation of that San Francisco is defense is Browns’ DC Joe Woods, who was a part of the team that made it to the Super Bowl. 

“When I was in San Francisco, we went through the season so you can see the results of it because we played 19 games,” Woods said. “We have not played a game yet, and on paper, it all looks good, but it is all about what you do between the white lines. You can see we have the ability, but it is all going to be based on how we perform if we are similar to that unit. We want to be able to affect protections. We can move guys around and create the one-on-ones that we want to create. That is what excites me the most is really just digging back into those packages when we have our pass-rush unit out there in passing situations and doing what we want to do.”


Ravens’ QB Lamar Jackson is excited to be joined by former Chiefs’ WR Sammy Watkins this season, which will provide him with a speedy receiver who also brings size and skill.

“Yes, I’m not going to lie to you; it is fun,” Jackson said, via “A big receiver, nice target, fast guy. I don’t know who’s faster out of him and ‘Quise’ [Marquise Brown]. I’m going to say ‘Quise’ is faster. Yes, ‘Quise’ is faster, because ‘Quise’ is blazing. But [Sammy Watkins is] a bigger receiver [and] will help us out a lot. We’ve got Mark [Andrews], we’ve got ‘Quise,’ we’ve got other guys. We’ve got Miles [Boykin] – stuff like that. But Sammy is going to make our job a lot easier. [He’ll] open one side of the field up more, with his deep-ball ability and his shifty route running. He’s a great receiver. I just can’t wait until we start going for real.”

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