AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Steelers

Bengals

Though reports indicate Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase is expected to return this week, HC Zac Taylor would not commit to that just yet. 

“We’ll see where we’re at on Wednesday and how we can integrate him into practice and how he’s feeling,” Taylor said.

Taylor allowed that Chase has a better chance of playing this week than he did last week. 

“I think we’ll all feel better about a guy coming off of an injury that’s actually had a week of practice — because that’s what you get to do with those IR guys oftentimes,” Taylor said. “I know he’s a week earlier than that, but you get the 21-day window to get him back in the feel of things before you put him out on a game field. So, I feel like we’ve handled this the right way.”

Browns

It’s been somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 days since Browns QB Deshaun Watson has last played a competitive football game. Some rust in his first game back is to be expected, and Browns HC Kevin Stefanski stressed it’s going to be about the team and not just Watson in the final stretch this season. 

“I have confidence in Deshaun based on his preparation and, really, the focus is on just him doing his job,” Stefanski said, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “I mean, we’re still gonna be all about the team effort, still offense, defense and special teams. So this is never, ever gonna be about one person. But as it relates to Deshaun, I believe in his preparation, I believe that he worked really hard on a bunch of things to be ready to go.”

Steelers

Steelers first-round QB Kenny Pickett and HC Mike Tomlin spoke to reporters about their comeback win against the Colts on Monday Night Football.

“No one had any doubts,” Pickett said, via NFL.com. “No one had second thoughts going out there in that fourth quarter that we were going to win the game, and I think that’s huge. Seeing the confidence in everybody in the huddle, you know, that we had no doubt that we were going to come away with a win. It was great to see that.”

“We’re all believing in what we’re doing, and we’re showing up every day to work,” Pickett added. “Every guy in that locker room wants to win, and we’re doing everything it takes to go out there and win. We’re leaving it out there. If you have that, you got a shot, so that’s a good starting point. There’s a lot of things to clean up, but if we continue to build on the positives and clean up the negatives, I think we’ll continue to trend in this direction.”

“We have him in there because we think he’s capable of that,” Tomlin said of Pickett. “And so he proved it. I’m sure he’s going to get a lot of other opportunities moving forward to prove that. We need people who run toward action, not away from it, and he runs toward it.”

  • Tomlin didn’t have much of an update on Steelers RB Najee Harris who left Monday night’s game with an abdominal injury: “Not as I sit here right now. But I don’t have a lot of information as I sit here right now.” (Adam Bittner)

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