AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Steelers, T.J. Watt


Bengals first-round rookie WR Ja’Marr Chase believes the drops that plagued him throughout the preseason were a matter of concentration and he has put the issue behind him.

I would just say it’s a lack of concentration. That’s all it was,” Chase said, via “If you look back at it, I jumped in the air when the ball got to me. My eyes weren’t concentrating on the ball. I didn’t keep still, so that makes my eye adjustment for the ball move around and now my eyes get lazy where the balls coming in from.”

Chase feels the time off from football, after opting out of the 2020 season, played a role in him not being able to settle into a groove early. There are a couple of other factors, too, like the ball looking and feeling different in the NFL than in college. 

I didn’t really get into a good rhythm with myself and actually play football,” Chase said. “I just had a few times to go out there and learn the fundamentals of the offense. That’s how I felt when I was out there playing. I feel like once I get into this game and actually play a longer time I’ll do more of myself.

  • ESPN’s Ben Baby lists Bengals WR Tee Higgins as a potential breakout player in 2021 and expects him to lead the team in receiving. 



  • ESPN’s Jamison Hensley lists Ravens RB Gus Edwards as a potential breakout player in 2021 now that he’s the clear starting running back. 
  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler provided some more detail on comments he made a couple of weeks ago about NFL executives thinking 2021 would be the year Ravens QB Lamar Jackson gets “figured out.” One NFC executive told him: “I just don’t know if he can get it done when the game shrinks in the playoffs and you have to come from behind with the passing game. He’s an immense talent, but I have doubts about the accuracy in those settings.”
  • Another NFC executive thinks Jackson is underrated but the team’s offense lets him down: “He throws the ball better than people think, the ultimate competitor. That offense is easy to figure out with a good defense. They only have so many options … Crowd the box and give him a hard time and make him beat you throwing.”
  • Per Over The Cap, Ravens TE Mark Andrews‘ four-year $56 million extension includes $37.58 million guaranteed, $30 million of which is guaranteed at signing. $23.6 million of that appears to be a signing bonus. 
  • Andrews will make base salaries of $3.5 million (guaranteed), $7.5 million, $7 million and $7 million in 2022-2025. He also has $4 million roster bonuses in 2024 and 2025, the final two years of the deal. 
  • USA Today’s Josina Anderson reports the Ravens are considering signing RB Trenton Cannon.


  • Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said he is hopeful OLB T.J. Watt will sign an extension with the team and he is expecting him at practice Wednesday: “It’s my understanding, I remain optimistic something will get done from a deal perspective. I’m expecting him to work tomorrow. I’m proceeding with the assumption he’s going to work tomorrow.” (Brooke Pryor)
  • Tomlin added he doesn’t know how much Watt will play on Sunday: “We’ll play it by ear. One thing we’re not going to assume is that he’s regular or normal. He’s in that position because of his unique talent and skillset…Guys like those guys routinely do what others can’t.” (Pryor)
  • Tomlin mentioned he was impressed with fourth-round OT Dan Moore who will start the season as the starter at left tackle: “He came with more than we anticipated … his floor was higher than anticipated.” (Pryor)
  • On new CB Ahkello Witherspoon, Tomlin said the team wanted to add secondary depth: “We wanted to add to our outside corner depth. It adds to versatility for us.” (Pryor)
  • Tomlin said Steelers OT Zach Banner had a setback in his recovery from a torn ACL and doesn’t know when he will return. (Ray Fittipaldo)

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