AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

  • Per the Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr., Bengals HC Zac Taylor said the team still expects K Randy Bullock (calf) to be Plan A for Thursday night’s game against the Browns despite claiming former Cleveland K Austin Seibert off waivers: “We expect Randy to kick this Thursday as he works through his tightness … Randy is our kicker.”

Browns

The Browns’ miscues on the passing game were apparent on Sunday against the Ravens, but HC Kevin Stefanski said he doesn’t feel like QB Baker Mayfield was trying to force the ball to WR Odell Beckham.

“We didn’t connect obviously as much as we’d like to,” Stefanski said, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “It’s a combination of things. You have to really start with them and give them credit. They made some plays. A couple balls, I’m sure Baker wants back. A couple of routes, I’m sure Odell wants back. That’s the nature of this thing. We just have to make sure we work really hard this week and then get out there Thursday night [against the Bengals] and put our best foot forward…

“I think we have a pretty good feel for Odell and his skillset. He’s a talented football player. It’s our job to put him in a position to make plays. Are we going to learn about him, what he’s comfortable with and what we’re comfortable with throughout the season? Yes, so that will grow, but I think we have a pretty good sense of it right now. He’s a good football player, so we want him to touch the ball. That’s good for us. We’re mindful of all of our players in terms of how they’re touching it. There were opportunities early where the coverage took it away, somebody else was open or those types of things. He’s a good football player so I do not think it is newsworthy that he is a focal point of our offense.”

  • Per NFL Media’s Aditi Kinkhabwala, Mayfield also didn’t think the team forced the ball to Beckham in Sunday’s loss. Beckham caught just three of 10 targets for 22 yards: “We take our one-on-one matchups…My reads were taking me there.”
  • Beckham said he likes to get involved in the game early to get his head in the game: “It’s like a shooter putting up a couple 3s early and you hit one, two of them, like, God knows you might drop 60, you know what I mean? I would love to get involved early, but it just didn’t go that way Sunday. And like I said, you’ve got to give your hats off to the other team sometimes. They just came out and they just played better than us.” (Mary Kay Cabot)
  • Cabot points out that a trade of Beckham this year could be difficult because of his $14.25 million cap number. 
  • Stefanski isn’t worried about the decision to waive K Austin Seibert biting them in the butt. Cleveland waived Seibert after he missed all his kicks Sunday and the Bengals claimed him. He could start against the Browns Thursday: “We’re comfortable with the roster decision.” (Scott Petrak)

Ravens

  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler expects Ravens QB Lamar Jackson to follow Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes into the $40 million per year club on his next deal. Jackson will be eligible for an extension for the first time after this season.
  • Fowler adds Ravens LT Ronnie Stanley also has a legitimate case to top Texans LT Laremy Tunsil‘s $22 million a year which Fowler explains is probably why the deal isn’t done yet. 
  • If he looks healthy this year, Ravens C Matt Skura is an in-season extension candidate, per Fowler. 
  • Fowler notes the Ravens could also try to extend OLB Matt Judon during the season. Franchise-tagging him for a second straight year is also an option, as is allowing him to leave in free agency like Za’Darius Smith last year. 
  • Fowler mentions the Ravens tried to sign CB Marlon Humphrey before the start of the season, but couldn’t get it done. Now the market has gone over $20 million per year. 
  • Stanley had to leave Sunday’s game with an injury but Ravens HC John Harbaugh expects him to be fine: “I haven’t been told anything serious. They’re working on him down in the training room. I’d say Wednesday we’ll have a pretty good idea. But again, I expect him to be out there practicing Wednesday. That’s my expectation at this point.” (Todd Karpovich)
  • The Ravens worked out UDFA QB Shea Patterson on Tuesday. (Ian Rapoport)

Steelers

Steelers RB Benny Snell took advantage of the opportunity an injury provided to show off all the work he did this past offseason to reshape his body. The 2019 fourth-round back out of Kentucky is listed at 224 pounds but he looks a fair bit trimmer and far more explosive than he was as a rookie. Snell got 19 carries for 113 yards in Monday night’s win against the Giants.

“Going into the games I don’t really have a mindset of how to call or what type of plays that I’ll get on offense,” Snell said via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Chris Adamski. “Most of my workload is on special teams so that is what I take my pride in, so whenever my time comes I know it’ll come. Opportunity presented itself tonight, and I was able to get more carries than usual.”

  • Steelers RB James Conner was knocked out of Monday night’s game with a sprained ankle but the team is “optimistic for a timely return.” (Adam Schefter)
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