AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

  • According to the Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr., Bengals CB Trae Waynes tore his pec during the standard ramp-up weight lifting period, not while doing a max or anything.
  • Waynes and his agent were unhappy with the team for not showing more urgency in getting a physical done because that meant they’d have to take it easy in training to avoid injury and losing Waynes’ signing bonus. 
  • Dehner notes their decision to go public twice with their frustrations can’t sit well with a notoriously private Bengals front office and isn’t a good start to Waynes’ tenure in Cincinnati, though obviously there’s still plenty of time to turn it around. 
  • Per the Athletic’s Jay Morrison, Bengals HC Zac Taylor acknowledged fellow free-agent CB Mackensie Alexander could replace Waynes while he’s out, but Cincinnati signed Alexander specifically to play nickel: “He’s a heck of a nickel. Really solid tackler, really confident, has great pattern recognition, good energy out there on the field. So he’s a guy that we’re really counting on for our defense this year.”
  • Morrison says the most logical replacement is Bengals CB Darius Phillips, who had four interceptions in part-time duty in 2019. 
  • Morrison adds that could clear a spot for Bengals WR Alex Erickson to make the team as a punt returner, as Phillips was projected to start there. 
  • Other options on the roster include free-agent signing CB LeShaun Sims, former CFL CB Winston Rose and CB Tony Brown
  • Bengals DT D.J. Reader said he cut 30 pounds and now weighs 317 pounds as he prepares for a larger role in Cincinnati after signing in free agency. (Dehner)

Browns

  • Per BrownsZone.com’s Scott Petrak, Browns RB Nick Chubb said he trusts the staff to divide touches between him and RB Kareem Hunt this year. 
  • Chubb said Browns QB Baker Mayfield has looked good, that he’s saying all of the right and more importantly not saying some things. (Nate Ulrich)
  • Browns CB Denzel Ward said he had a “decent” 2019 season though it wasn’t as good as he had hoped: “Not the season I had in mind. When I was on the field I produced, helped team but there’s a lot more I can do.” (Petrak)

Ravens

  • Per the Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec, Ravens DC Don Martindale said adding CB Marcus Peters, who will have his first full offseason with the team, has been great for the defense: “Marcus Peters is one of the smartest corners I’ve ever seen play the game. He’s just been a tremendous asset to our defense.” 
  • Ravens OC Greg Roman reiterated the team doesn’t see having four legitimate running backs as an issue: “The more the merrier. We’ll be able to utilize all those guys. In our offense, we don’t look at it as a problem at all. We look at it as a really good thing.” (Zrebiec)

Steelers

  • Per ESPN’s Brooke Pryor, Steelers RB James Conner reiterated he never considered opting out despite a bout with lymphoma while he was in college four years ago: “I was excited to get back and be around my teammates and be around football again. I still haven’t thought about it or questioned playing this year.”
  • Steelers RB coach Eddie Faulkner notes RB Benny Snell changed his body this offseason and looks good going into 2020: “I’m excited about Benny. That’s a guy that’s passionate and loves the game. I feel like he’ll hit the ground running this year.” (Pryor)
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