AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Lamar Jackson, Steelers

Bengals

  • Bengals HC Zac Taylor said CB Trae Waynes is out for Week 1 against the Vikings, his former team. (Ben Baby)
  • Taylor said CB Eli Apple will start in Waynes’ spot. (Kelsey Conway)
  • Despite a rough training camp, Bengals first-round WR Ja’Marr Chase said he still believes in himself: “My confidence never went anywhere.” (Baby)

Browns

Ravens

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson and HC John Harbaugh laugh and dismiss the idea that the NFL has “figured out” Jackson, the former 2019 MVP. But Jackson is the first to acknowledge there are parts of his game that he needs to improve, specifically throwing outside of the numbers. A lack of consistent mechanics has affected Jackson’s ability to drive the ball out to the edges of the field and just overall made him a streaky passer.

However, after an offseason working on his mechanics, Harbaugh says the results in camp have been noticeable, with one Panthers staffer at joint practices between the two teams earlier this summer remarking that the ball was coming of Jackson’s hand like it was coming out of a JUGS machine. 

“He’s always been a mature person. He’s never gonna change who he is or his personality, which is what you love about him. He’s always gonna be genuine,” Harbaugh said at the time via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “But he’s learning how to play the position, he’s learning what it takes to take it to that really elite level on a consistent basis, and you see it in the way he’s playing.

“Like today, he didn’t run out of the pocket once. And he would’ve in a game five, six, seven times, and those would’ve been big plays. But that’s not what he’s trying to do. He’s staying in the pocket, he’s trying to make throws—and he’s making throws. He’s been super accurate all through camp, ball’s coming out quick, he’s throwing ropes all over the place. I think that’s probably through hard work in the offseason, he took the time.”

  • Harbaugh said the team has a vaccination rate over 90 percent. (Jamison Hensley)

Steelers

  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler notes time is running out for Steelers OLB T.J. Watt to be able to play in Week 1 against the Bills, as he’s missed so much work in practice while holding in during contract negotiations and the Steelers place a high value on players being able to practice before they play. 
  • According to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, Steelers fourth-round OL Dan Moore Jr. is listed as the starting left tackle on the depth chart, while OT Chukwuma Okorafor is the right tackle. 
  • As expected, third-round C Kendrick Green is also in the starting lineup.
  • New Steelers CB Ahkello Witherspoon said he is working at both outside cornerback spots so far in practice as the coaches try to bring him along slowly. (Ray Fittipaldo)

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