AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

Bengals RB Joe Mixon had gone 622 carries without fumbling before a well-timed hit by a Chargers linebacker dislodged the ball in Sunday’s 16-13 loss. It was one of the many miscues that doomed Cincinnati and Mixon is determined to go another 600 carries at leaast before it happens again. 

“I played it back even when my coach showed me,” Mixon said via the Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. “I don’t like looking at it. But … ‘Run that back one more time. Run it one more time.’ Different angle. It sucks, but at the same time, no matter how bad it is, you have to learn from it. You have to just to see how you could have attacked it differently. How you could have held the ball and made a move off of it and these are things I’m accessing in my head.

“What could I have done in that situation? Of course, you always say, ‘Just put the ball away.’ The ball was in great position. It got a little low, but it was still in great position. The guy made a hell of a play, but it was never supposed to happen. At the end of the day, I learned from it and come Thursday I’m going to be ready.”

Browns

The 2020 season serves as a crossroads for Browns QB Baker Mayfield. The team will need to make a decision on his fifth-year option next summer and to do that Mayfield needs to play more like he did as a rookie and less like he did in 2019 and in Sunday’s season opener. Browns GM Andrew Berry didn’t want to discuss contracts but he did explain what he’s looking for from Mayfield. 

“Get better every day. Refine your craft. He’s a very talented guy and he’s proven he can perform at a very high level in the NFL. The rest will take care of itself. To me it’s as simple as that,” Berry said via the Ringer’s Kevin Clark. “Get better every day. Continue to develop a relationship with the coaching staff, take the teaching and everything will take care of itself.”

Berry, the NFL’s youngest-ever general manager at the age of 32, also shed some light on his team-building philosophy. Because of the battles of previous front offices, he’s asked whether he’ll lean more on scouting or analytics a lot. His response is “yes,” adding that’s the wrong way to frame the question. He’s open to all sources of data to build a team and this is what he wants to focus on. 

“We’re going to be QB-centric because it’s the most important position in our sport and you could argue perhaps in all sports,” Berry said. “So obviously, [supporting the quarterback] was a major emphasis for building the roster. We believe in today’s football that the passing game on both sides of the ball has the biggest impact on wins and losses … so we are going to use some of our most significant resources in things that support the quarterback and things that influence the passing game.”

  • Pro Football Network’s Benjamin Allbright says a Browns source told him the team is not actively shopping WR Odell Beckham, though the person acknowledged teams have asked: “Any player is available for the right price but we are not actively shopping Odell Beckham nor have we put him on the market. We have received calls about him.”
  • Browns WR Jarvis Landry plans to play Thursday night barring a setback and he considers his rest precautionary for his surgically repaired hip. (Jeremy Fowler)
  • Browns CB Greedy Williams, LB Mack Wilson and CB Kevin Johnson are all out for Thursday night’s game against the Bengals. Browns LT Jedrick Wills, RT Jack Conklin, C J.C. Tretter, DE Olivier Vernon and Landry are all listed as questionable.(Field Yates
  • The Browns brought in kickers Ramiz Ahmed, Sergio Castillo and Cole Tracy for tryouts on Wednesday. (Aaron Wilson)

Ravens

  • Per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley, Ravens LT Ronnie Stanley did not practice on Wednesday with a hip injury. He left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury but the team was optimistic he wouldn’t miss any time this week. 
  • Ravens TE Mark Andrews did extra conditioning this offseason to prepare to play more in 2020. He played about 43 percent of the snaps in 2019 but over 70 percent on Sunday: “I’m ready for it. The more, the better for me.” (Jeff Zrebiec
  • Ravens RB Justice Hill returned to practice after missing Week 1 with a hamstring injury. (Zrebiec)

Steelers

Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger made his return to the field for the first time since his season-ending elbow injury last season and despite some early rough moments, his final stat line was pretty good — 21-32, 229 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 26-16 win. There was a brief moment where he grabbed at his knee after getting hit in the pocket but he said it was nothing. 

“I probably just grabbed my knee because I was moving so fast, but I feel great right now,” Roethlisberger said via ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. “Obviously, adrenaline still pumping, and we won the game. I’m going to be sore tomorrow and might have some bumps and bruises, but in terms of elbow and everything else, I feel really good right now.”

  • The Steelers brought in OT Brandon Walton for a tryout on Wednesday. (Aaron Wilson)
  • Steelers hosted DB John Battle and LB Christian Kuntz for visits on Wednesday. (Aaron Wilson)
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