AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers


Bengals first-round WR Ja’Marr Chase was so dominant in his season with Joe Burrow at LSU that there was some thought he’d basically pick up where he left off upon arriving in the NFL. That hasn’t been the case so far in training camp, as Chase has dealt with drops and hasn’t separated as easily from NFL corners as he did in college. Bengals HC Zac Taylor isn’t worried, though. 

“For Ja’Marr, you get a chance to see him in one-on-ones really work, and that was great to see yesterday, saw him make some great plays in one-on-ones,” Taylor said via the Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. “Our DBs are really challenging us on the outside. There are some new routes we’re incorporating with him that are going to be huge for us during the season. Part of it is to sustain a drive, some of the DBs start backing off and makes things a little bit easier. Credit to our DBs, they’re showing up and pressing on every snap right now. That usually works to benefit the receiver as the drive extends and guys get a little more worn down and play a little softer. It’s great. I’d rather start with man and these guys have to work their technique and understand route details. I’d rather start that way than the opposite, where everything is easy and you have free access.”

  • Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin said RB Joe Mixon should be a three-down back this year: “He can stay on the field on any down.” (Ben Baby)
  • Tobin mentioned the team is pleased with Chase’s progress: “What we see is what we want to see. We see a physical guy that has strong hands, a guy that can extend the field vertically and then come in and out of cuts.” (Baby)
  • Tobin added second-round OL Jackson Carman still has a ways to go to earn a starting position: He’s gotta get himself in peak shape, which I think he’s working his way into that. What we see are the traits that we like in him.” (Baby)



  • The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec lists Ravens WR Deon Cain, WR James Proche, DT Justin Ellis, TE Josh Oliver, TE Eric Tomlinson and CB Chris Westry as some players who have improved their standing so far during camp. 
  • He adds not all of those players, like Cain and Westry, will make the team but they have at least put themselves in the conversation and could stick on the practice squad. 
  • Others, like Ellis, Oliver, Tomlinson and Proche, have distinguished themselves in competition for backup roles on the team and started to put some distance between them and other competitors. 
  • Conversely, Zrebiec says WR Miles Boykin, OLB Jaylon Ferguson, G Ben Bredeson, DT Aaron Crawford, CB Iman Marshall, CB Khalil Dorsey and OT Andre Smith, among others, are losing ground on making the team. 
  • According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Ravens first-round WR Rashod Bateman left practice with a soft tissue injury. An MRI didn’t reveal any structural problems with Bateman’s leg. 
  • NFL Media’s Mike Garafolo adds a source says Bateman will out for a while but “not a crazy length of time.”
  • Ravens S DeShon Elliott said he was limited last year with a serious knee injury: “I didn’t play up to my standard.” (Zrebiec)


Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said G Kevin Dotson needs to earn the starting left guard spot over veteran G Rashaad Coward.

“He has done nothing to earn first-team reps,” Tomlin said, via ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. “What are we talking about? He’s a second-year guy who hasn’t worked.”

Meanwhile, Tomlin had a ton of praise for Coward.

“I think he’s done an excellent job,” Tomlin said. “He has the mannerisms and demeanor of a veteran and that’s needed, particularly when we’re going through the transition that we’re going through with that group.

  • Dotson agreed with Tomlin that he hasn’t earned a starting spot yet: “I still have to prove myself. I’m not a No. 1 proven guy.” (Pryor)

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