AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers



Bengals CB William Jackson had his fifth-year option picked up but the Bengals weren’t willing to make any further commitment past 2020. Jackson has battled inconsistency and the coaching staff wants him to maintain the high level of play he’s shown in the past. Jackson says going into his second straight year with the same defensive coordinator will help. 

“A lot of people don’t understand that a lot of corners have been in the same system their whole career,” Jackson said via Geoff Hobson of the team website. “Every year I’ve had to learn a new system and terminology. So, that’s the reason I’ve been playing and wasn’t getting as much picks as I should because everything was new to me every year. So, this is the first year that I’ve had the same coach two years in a row. It should be a great one. I feel like I’m where I need to be and know where I’m going. Since I’ve been here it’s been a different defensive coordinator as you should know. So, I’m familiar with this defense and I’m comfortable in it and it’s time to go make plays.”

  • Hobson notes Bengals S Shawn Williams, who hurt his calf Tuesday, looks like he could be ready to return for Week 1. 
  • Bengals WR John Ross is returning to the team Thursday after leaving to care for his son and the child’s mother who tested positive for COVID-19. Ross was placed on the COVID-19 list while away and will need to pass the protocol to be reactivated. (Mike Garafolo)
  • Bengals C Billy Price also worked at second-string guard. (Ben Baby)


  • Per ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Browns LB Mack Wilson is hoping to avoid surgery on his hyperextended knee but needs to wait for the swelling to go down to make a final determination. If he can avoid surgery, Wilson is looking at a timetable of six to eight weeks. 
  • Browns LB coach Jason Tarver says the team has some options to replace Wilson, with veteran LB B.J. Goodson the top candidate to fill in on passing downs. (Scott Petrak)
  • Tarver adds third-round LB Jacob Phillips is fast enough to replace Wilson but the coaching staff wants to see how he holds up in man coverage: “So far he’s done well.” (Petrak)
  • Browns RB coach Stump Mitchell says RB Nick Chubb is still attending virtual meetings while in the concussion protocol and “not having any problems.” Mitchell expects it to be “just a matter of time” before Chubb returns. (Jake Trotter)
  • After missing some time with a groin injury last season, Browns RB Kareem Hunt says he’s feeling healthy so far this year. (Nate Ulrich)


  • Per the Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec, Ravens HC John Harbaugh said the team wants to settle on a starting offensive line soon: “The latest would be the game week. That would be the very latest we’d want to have it set. We’d like to have it set before that. I think our goal would be the week leading into the game week, which is really only a week and a half away.”
  • Both offensive tackle spots are set and Zrebiec says the left guard will likely be Bradley Bozeman again. The two open spots are center and right guard. 
  • Zrebiec notes six different players have taken reps at center and last year’s starter, Matt Skura, is not one of them as he continues to work back from a knee injury.
  • Right now, Zrebiec thinks D.J. Fluker is the favorite to start at right guard and Patrick Mekari is in the lead at center, but that’s far from solidified. 


  • The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette thinks the NFL might not have the cap at the $175 million floor in 2021, as it wouldn’t be good for teams to have to cut a number of players to fit. If they do, Bouchette thinks the Steelers will have to say goodbye to a number of key players. 
  • Bouchette thinks Steelers OL Zach Banner will end up winning the starting job at right tackle, though if things are even OT Chukwuma Okorafor‘s draft status could give him the edge. 
  • Bouchette notes Steelers CBs Cam Sutton and Justin Layne could play a bigger role in the secondary given Pittsburgh’s questionable safety depth. 
  • With Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger apparently set to play for another few years, Bouchette notes Pittsburgh has time to find a replacement for him. 
  • The Steelers hosted TE Kyle Markway for a workout on Wednesday. (Aaron Wilson)
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