AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Steelers


  • Bengals DC Lou Anarumo had high praise for second-year LB Logan Wilson‘s communication at minicamp. 
  • Ben Baby mentions that Wilson appears to be starting at middle linebacker so far in the offseason program. 
  • Bengals OC Brian Callahan believes QB Joe Burrow has shown mental and physical improvement since last season: “He spent a lot of time looking at the things he wanted to get better at from his season, both mentally and physically. I think he’s done that.” (Ben Baby)
  • Callahan said Burrow is throwing with “more velocity,” which allows him to hold the ball a little longer: “He’s throwing the ball with a little bit more velocity.” (Ben Baby)
  • Callahan has high praise of Browns WR Tee Higgins: “He’s going to be a problem for opposing defenses.” (Ben Baby)
  • Callahan added that he expects Higgins to have a “huge role” next season: “Tee’s gonna play a huge role. He’s got every trait to be a top-level receiver in this league. He had a great rookie year and a great start to his career. The key for him is to take the sophomore jump, instead of a sophomore slump.” (Tyler Dragon)
  • Special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons mentioned WR Trent Taylor is the current favorite to be the punt returner, while RB Pooka Williams is in the mix but has to make for lack of experience. (Baby)


  • Browns OC Alex Van Pelt issued a vote of confidence for WR Odell Beckham Jr. as a valuable member of their offense: “We’ll be better with Odell, no doubt.” (Mary Kay Cabot)
  • Van Pelt expects sixth-round RB Demetric Felton to be used as a receiver, calling the rookie a “running receiver back.” (Nate Ulrich)
  • Browns DC Joe Woods said having Browns safeties Grant Delpit and John Johnson III will allow them to use more dime packages third downs and in two-minute situations. (Scott Petrak)
  • Woods reiterated that he plans on using more dime packages than last season and mentioned that he has a lot of experience using the defensive system while with the Broncos from 2015-2018. (Nate Ulrich)
  • However, Woods added that they won’t use the dime package as frequently as his time in Denver. 
  • As for Browns DT Andrew Billings, who opted out of last year, Woods said that Billings isn’t in “ideal shape” but will have a role on first- and second-down run defense: “Billings isn’t in ideal football shape after year off, but that’s why you go through summer workouts, he is definitely part of our plans as a first- and second-down run stuffer. He’ll definitely play a role for us this season.” (Nate Ulrich)
  • Browns QB Baker Mayfield is confident that his contract situation will “handle itself” going forward. The Browns exercised Mayfield’s fifth-year option for 2022. (Tony Grossi)
  • The Browns hosted UDFA WR Davion Davis for a workout on Tuesday. (Nate Ulrich)


The Steelers said goodbye to two starters from their secondary last season, allowing nickel corner Mike Hilton to leave in free agency and cutting No. 2 corner Steven Nelson to save cap space. They’ll be relying on CB Cameron Sutton to replace both of them, as the current plan is for Sutton to start on the outside before moving into the slot when the team goes into its nickel package. During OTAs, the Steelers have tried a few different players at nickel as well to see if they can keep Sutton outside, otherwise either Justin Layne or James Pierre would start outside. 

“Right now, the way I’m looking at it is I know Cam can play inside,” Steelers DC Teryl Austin said via the Athletic’s Ed Bouchette. “So right now he is working outside and we’re letting these other guys kind of work inside to see what we have. I think that’s the proper way to do it, to make sure we evaluate them and give them many opportunities to learn and see where they can go inside. If we don’t feel real comfortable with what we have, then we obviously will address changes at that time. But I know for a fact Cam would not need a lot of reps if he had to move inside and help us. That’s where we are with that.”

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