AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

After being third in the XFL in rushing yards, RB Jacques Patrick is still hoping to earn a roster spot with the Bengals.

“When you look at that league and some of the things he did in the limited number of games they had, his name came to the surface,” Bengals RB coach Jemal Singleton said, via Jay Morrison of The Athletic. “After taking a closer look at him, he was somebody I definitely thought could help us and do some things in the room.”

  • The Bengals trade of veteran LB Austin Calitro to the Broncos is likely a good sign that rookie LB Markus Bailey has proven himself and will make the final roster. (Ben Baby)

Browns

New Browns S Ronnie Harrison was shocked when he first heard the Jaguars were trading him, but the shock was quickly replaced by excitement.

“Thank you Jacksonville,’’ Harrison posted on Instagram. “It’s been a great two years and I am very thankful for the Jaguars organization, and the city of Jacksonville. However, Cleveland … I’m ready to get to work.’’

Harrison is confident he can learn the playbook and be ready to face the Ravens for the season opener.

“It’s definitely doable,’’ he said, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “We still have a week. I should be back in the building with the guys tomorrow or Sunday. I’m a pretty smart guy and I’ve been in the league a few years now. They run the same type of stuff that we used to do in Jacksonville so I don’t think that it will be so much the scheme just really the terminology I need to learn.”

Harrison is also promising to bring the same intensity that helped him win two national championships at Alabama. He is also excited to be reunited with college teammates LB Mack Wilson and LT Jedrick Wills. He is also excited to join a talented roster featuring WR Odell Beckham, WR Jarvis Landry, and DE Myles Garrett.

I’m just bringing that savage mentality,” Harrison said. “The same thing I’ve seen at Alabama I’m bringing that back. Just that mentality is that every play having that defense turned up. Being that leader out there. Talking and keeping guys encouraged. Wherever I need to be — just being there. I just want to go play and have fun. I just want to go ball. I’m just excited. I know it’s a lot of talent. It’s a talented team. They have guys like Odell, Jarvis Landry, my former teammates there — Mack Wilson and Jedrick Wills. It’s a lot of good players and a great defense. They got some great guys in the back end and a great front seven — Myles Garrett and all of them. I’m just excited about the opportunity. I’m ready to go out there and ball with those guys.”

Wilson and Harrison also share an agent, and Wilson has already been blowing up Harrison’s phone about his excitement of having his former teammate with him in Cleveland.

“Mack loves it out here,” Harrison said. “As soon as he found out I was out here he was blowing my phone up, ‘You’re gonna be all right. I’m all connected out here. The fans out here are just like Alabama. They love us. You gonna be fine. I got you whatever you need.’’’ Harrison said. “He talked great about it, highly about it. He loves it. Just excited to be back on the field with him. In college, he really brought the energy and helped me out a lot keeping the defense up and keeping that energy going on defense because that’s critical especially when you get into a tough game and tough situations. It’s great to be back on the field with him.”

Ravens

  • Ravens’ CB Jimmy Smith said he’s never played so many different positions before and is switching from cornerback to safety in certain packages: “It’s not really much of a learning curve. It is something new but I’m enjoying it.” (Jamison Hensley)
  • Smith on playing behind cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Marlon Humphrey: “To be honest, in the very, very beginning, it was very different. You’re not used to standing on the sideline. At the same time, I realize I’m in the twilight years of my career.” (Hensley)
  • While he admits that it was initially tough to accept a reserve corner role, Smith says he has grown to like moving around on the defense: “I’m in the twilight of my career and I feel like the role I’m playing now can help the team.”  (Jeff Zrebiec)
  • Smith also opened up on free agency, adding: “The whole plan was to get back here anyway, so I’m glad to be back.” (Zrebiec)
  • When he was asked indirectly about the release of S Earl Thomas, Smith said: “I believe that the Ravens organization stands by certain principles. If you’re not part of us, we don’t need you. Chemistry is everything.” (Jonas Shaffer)
  • Ravens’ FB Patrick Ricard talked about his changing responsibilities this season: “Every year, my role’s expanded in different ways. I can’t really go into the specifics of what I’m doing. I think we’re just going to have to wait for Week 1. I’m excited to see J.K. Dobbins in Week 1. I can’t wait to block for him.” (Shaffer)

Steelers

  • Steelers’ OL Zach Banner says he is in the best shape of his life and has set a goal of playing between 325-330 pounds by the end of the season. (Brooke Pryor)
  • Banner is also happy to not have to worry about being cut this offseason: “I’m extremely grateful I’m not a bubble roster guy anymore.” (Pryor)
  • Steelers’ RG David DeCastro missed practice again and HC Mike Tomlin sounded hopeful he would be back next week. (Aditi Kinkhabwala)
  • Tomlin also said that he said he might list “OR” on the official depth chart, as he is unable to decide on Banner or Chukwuma Okorafor as his starter. (Mark Kaboly)
  • Mark Kaboly of The Athletic says that despite the fact that QB Ben Roethlisberger‘s surgically repaired elbow is no longer a concern, QB Mason Rudolph impressed and had the best camp of his career.
  • Despite the fact that they may have limited roles in the offense, Kaboly believes that running backs Jaylen Samuels, Derek Watt, and Trey Edmunds are all likely to make the final roster.
  • Kaboly says that WR Ryan Switzer will likely earn a roster spot over WR Deon Cain, who had a better chance at clearing waivers and joining the practice squad.
  • As for the battle for the starting right tackle job, Kaboly believes that Okorafor has done enough to win the spot from Banner.
  • After being moved from safety to linebacker, Kaboly notes that he could see Marcus Allen being used in matchups against big tight ends as a dime linebacker.
  • Kaboly also offered high praise for rookie LB Alex Highsmith and adds that if he is only placed in pass-rushing situations he could easily have six sacks on the year.
  • One player who may not see much action this season, according to Kaboly is CB Justin Layne, who will likely be used primarily on special teams.
  • Kaboly lists thirteen of the possible sixteen players who will be on the Steelers practice squad, including QB Paxton Lynch, WR Deon Cain, WR Ray-Ray McCloud, OL Derwin Gray, OL JC Hassenauer, OL Christian DiLauro, TE Kevin Rader, RB Kerrith Whyte, DL Isaiah Buggs, DL Carlos Davis, DL Cavon Walker, CB James Pierre, and LB Jayrone Elliott.

 

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