AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

Browns

Ravens

It was a largely frustrating season for Ravens WR Marquise Brown. He was expecting to take another step forward after being a year removed from playing through a foot injury as a rookie. But Baltimore’s inconsistent pass offense got to Brown at times, as he expressed frustration about a lack of targets then dealt with a bout of drops. Sunday’s playoff game against the Titans was a high point, though, as Brown caught seven passes for 109 yards to lead the team. 

“Every game is not going to be great, and every game is not going to be bad. You take the bad with the bad, the good with the good and keep moving,” Brown said via Ryan Mink of the team website. “Just because I had a good game this week, I’ve got to still put in the work to do good next week. So, I never get too high, I never get too low; I just keep pushing.

“[Ravens OC] Greg Roman, he continued to trust me to get me involved in different things. So, I just do my best out there to try to execute what they tell me to do, and hopefully, going forward, it continues.”

Steelers

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin is always good for a quote. He accurately summed up the Steelers’ 2020 season, which disintegrated after an 11-0 start, following their playoff loss to the Browns Sunday night. 

“We didn’t do enough,” Tomlin said via ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. “We didn’t position them in enough good circumstances. We didn’t make enough plays, particularly in the critical moments. We were a group that died on the vine.”

Now Pittsburgh enters a pivotal offseason with a number of high-profile free agents and a financial situation that is inflexible, to say the least. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is under contract for one more season, but it’s not hard to read between the lines of his extended stay sitting on the bench on the sideline following the game and think this could have been the end.  

“Well it’s gonna start between me and God,” Roethlisberger said via Pro Football Talk. “A lot of praying. And then, you know, a lot of talking with my family, discussions, decisions. And, you know, I still have a year left on my contract. I hope the Steelers want me back, if that’s the way we go. There’ll be a lot of discussions, but now’s not the time for that.”

  • Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster is one of many players on expiring contracts. However, he said he’d love to stay in Pittsburgh if possible: “I wouldn’t mind – I’d love to stay in Pittsburgh. I’ve built a strong foundation. I love Coach Tomlin, Coach Ike. They made me who I am today. I don’t want to go to a different organization and change who I am. I would love to be a Steeler again.” (Pryor)
  • Steelers DL Cameron Heyward acknowledged there’s a chance for a good amount of turnover on the roster: “It’s totally possible. I could be gone next year. I don’t know what to expect. We are in uncharted territory, to say the least.” (Pryor)
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