AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens


  • Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic mentions that rookie WR Ja’Marr Chase has “had a fantastic week” of practice, adding that despite having four strong practices we won’t know if Chase will come on slowly or immediately emerge as a superstar until the season begins.


There was a time when the NFL career of DL Malik McDowell looked as if it may be over, but he is now drawing praise from Browns’ HC Kevin Stefanski and has the chance to make the team’s roster for 2021.

“He has been great,” Stefanski said, via Andrew Gribble of “He has been great in the meeting rooms, around the building, and out on the grass. He is in a really good place, works very hard, and is very serious about his craft. I see him making strides every day working with Coach Kiff (defensive line coach Chris Kiffin) and working with (assistant defensive line) Coach (Jeremy) Garrett. To see him out there making plays, his teammates were excited for him. He continues to grind. He continues to work at this thing. He had worked really hard when we got him in the building in the spring. Obviously, had a couple of injuries that set him back but stayed into it with the walkthroughs and stayed into it in the meeting rooms. He is a guy who is really, really battling. He is working very, very hard as we get through this training camp.”

  • Browns HC Kevin Stefanski said QB Baker Mayfield will play in their preseason finale on Sunday against the Falcons.  (Jake Trotter)
  • Stefanski said WR Rashard Higgins and CB Troy Hill aren’t dealing with any serious injuries and sat out Friday’s practice as a precaution: “Just being smart.” (Nate Ulrich)
  • Stefanski said WR Odell Beckham Jr. is going through a ramp-up period before the regular season: “It’s all part of a process, and I’m just listening to the medical staff on what he’s ready to do. So this is the normal ramp-up period, if you will.” (Nate Ulrich)


Ravens DC Don Martindale explained the potential impact of the injury to LB L.J. Fort, who is now out for the season with an ACL tear.

“What it means is … L.J. [Fort], to me, is what this league is built on [and] the player that this league is built on; those guys that come in and have the careers that they’ve had just by working their tail off and doing everything right. The thing we’re going to miss out of him, in that room – the linebacker room itself – is just leadership and experience. He’d always talk to the younger guys in helping them along – last year, for example – and he would calm things down when he’d go in the game. So, we’re definitely going to miss that. But you’re seeing these younger guys starting to step up, and it is definitely going to be an opportunity for Kristian Welch, since L.J. went down. But we’re definitely going to miss him,” Martindale said, via

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