AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens


Bengals EVP Katie Blackburn said the team adjusted its approach in free agency to bring in more guys that fit the team’s system and said they’ve been spending more time studying players around the league that will fit what they’re trying to do.

We have spent more time studying free agents before free agency,” Blackburn said, via “We have invested more time in doing that and I think we are getting better results with some of the things we’ve been doing. It’s like everything. We looked at it. We improved the way we were doing it. The scouts and the role they play and working with the coaches in terms of studying free agents…We’ve spent a little more time working to find the pieces and the players that will fit our team.


Browns GM Andrew Berry feels that HC Kevin Stefanski is the right play-caller for Deshaun Watson and will be able to maximize the quarterback’s strengths. 

“I think it’s just Kevin’s body of work,” Berry said, via Mary Kay Cabot. “He’s very smart and he’s creative. He’s adaptable. Over the last two years, he’s done a really nice job of showing flexibility in really challenging situations, whether it’s injuries, COVID-related, you name it. He also has a really clear vision that we think aligns with Deshaun’s strengths as a player. We feel really good about him crafting and designing the offense that will maximize our starting quarterback’s strengths.’’

Berry added that their offense will inherently look differently under Watson than how they played with Baker Mayfield

It’s fair to say that the offense will look a little bit differently than what we’ve seen the last two years because we do have a quarterback with a pretty unique skillset,” Berry said. “How that shakes out in personnel groupings or things like that, ultimately we want to try and run the offense for our best players. Last year, we felt we had a strong tight end room, a strong running back room. We dealt with different injuries and other things in the receivers room, so that’s how the offense morphed a bit. That can be different each year.”

Browns’ executive Paul DePodesta mentioned that their offense typically ran 13-personnel last season and thinks they will adapt well to Watson joining their system. 

“The offense is going to run through our best players,” Stefanski said. “Last year, that happened to be 13. We did run some 13 in 2020, but not as much as we did this past year. That’s their philosophy, which is why we have no concern about how they’re going to use Deshaun. It’ll end up being adaptable to our best players, and clearly he’s at the forefront of that.”


  • Ravens HC John Harbaugh said he was unsure of the timetable of OT Ronnie Stanley‘s recovery from ankle surgery but expects him to be back in time for the regular season: “I don’t know exactly the timeframe. He is doing well by all accounts; our new trainer Adrian Dixon saw him and he’s doing really well. [Stanley] told me he’s doing great, I can’t wait to see him back and he should be back for the offseason program. He’ll still be rehabbing in that point in time. We won’t be hurrying him back into practice. We’ll be looking to get him back for the season.”  (Ravens Twitter)
  • The Ravens hosted Nebraska CB Cam Taylor-Britt, Georgia RB Zamir White and Georgia CB Derion Kendrick for top 30 visits. (Billy Marshall)
  • The Ravens made a last-minute attempt to persuade LB Von Miller to sign with them, however, he was unable to pass up signing with the Bills, according to Richard Sherman.
  • Oregon DE Kayvon Thibodeaux is meeting with the Jets and Ravens on Saturday and was heavily scouted by the Lions during his workout in the afternoon, according to Tony Pauline.

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