AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Mitchell Trubisky, Steelers


Bengals WR Tyler Boyd has seen his production fall the past couple of seasons as Cincinnati has gotten a lot more talented at wide receiver with youngsters Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. However, Boyd has still shown he can produce when given the opportunities, and his willingness to take a step back is a big reason why the Bengals can trot out one of the best receiving trios in football. 

“I got fewer targets, but I still made my opportunities work,” Boyd said via Geoff Hobson of the team website. “I think there are so many guys around the league that can’t handle that. I think guys get kind of upset if they haven’t had more targets and complain about another guy getting more targets. At the end of the day it’s a business. Everybody sees what you’re doing. If you don’t get the ball, make sure you’re open. The tape doesn’t lie. As long as you’re doing your job and the coaches see the ball could have been to you, that’s what it’s about.”


  • PFF’s Doug Kyed says a source reiterated Browns CB Denzel Ward and third-round WR David Bell have minor injuries and should be back from the PUP list soon. 
  • Scott Petrak of believes that the Browns will end up trading RB D’Ernest Johnson ahead of roster cuts.
  • Petrak also gives a nod to the cornerback position, calling it the deepest on the team’s roster.
  • Browns WR Amari Cooper did not practice on Tuesday due to an ankle issue, but HC Kevin Stefanski expects him to return soon. (Adam Beasley)
  • Stefanski said the team’s plan is for QB Jacoby Brissett to start Week 1, but the team needs to get both quarterbacks ready to play: “We have a couple plans. We’re going to stick to it until we get more information.” (Tom Pelissero)


  • PFF’s Doug Kyed talking to a source who said Ravens RB J.K. Dobbins is doing “amazing” in his recovery and there doesn’t seem to be much worry about him being ready for Week 1. 
  • Ravens HC John Harbaugh said OT Ja’Wuan James has a “nagging thing.” (Jeff Zrebiec)
  • James is also working on transitioning to primary backup at left tackle after playing on the right side his whole career, per Harbaugh: “He’s moving really well. He hasn’t been a left tackle. He’s been a right tackle his whole career. He’d probably rather be on the right side, but sometimes, necessity is the mother of invention. He’s getting an opportunity on the left side right now.” (Zrebiec)
  • He also defended first-round S Kyle Hamilton, who went semi-viral for losing a one-on-one rep to WR Bailey Gaither: “Someone gave the opinion that he’s a limited guy, he’s got to play in the box, because they saw him try and cover a guy that ran like a 10.4 (in the) 100-meters. I don’t know. We’re not going to match him up against a 10.4 100-meter guy, but he played man today pretty good as you saw. He’s going to be pretty versatile and he’s going to line up in a lot of spots.”
  • Harbaugh said G Ben Cleveland passed his conditioning test Monday. (Zrebiec)
  • Harbaugh added LT Ronnie Stanley is doing good but his return to practice isn’t imminent. (Zrebiec)


Steelers QB Mitchell Trubisky is the heavy favorite to be the starter in Week 1 for the first time since he was with the Bears. In between was a stint as the backup with the Bills where Trubisky was exposed to a different way of doing things and had some time to take a step back and reset without the pressure of being the No. 2 pick in the draft. He believes he’s in a much better situation to succeed in Pittsburgh as a result. 

“I would say I process quicker now. I know where I want to go with the ball,” he said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “I’m able to just trust my abilities and play a lot more free, not just go where the coach wants me to go with the football. I think it was a lot along the lines of just having a trust and being on the same page as the offensive coordinator. I felt like being in Buffalo, the quarterback had a lot more free rein to go where he wanted with the reads and go where he wanted with the ball, as opposed to Chicago.

“Even if you got a completion [in Chicago], I felt like sometimes it wasn’t necessarily what the coach wanted. They put you in a box a little bit more than you wanted to be, and I think that restricts you as a player. It’s just different experiences. In the end, we still won games. It’s just different team to team.”

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