AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Steelers


Bengals OT D.J. Reader said the team is collectively re-evaluating themselves and re-adjusting after Week 9’s one-sided loss to the Browns. 

“We have a lot of guys right now looking themselves in the mirror and that’s what the league is,” Reader said, via Laurel Pfahler of the Dayton Daily News. “It’s play to play, making adjustments. Halftime making adjustments. Week to week making adjustments. Now we’re in that meat part of the season where everybody is sitting in the same spot, there’s no real separation. The teams who make the adjustments will be the better teams and the teams who don’t, won’t. We have to look at ourselves and want to be on the better side and want to make those adjustments. I think we will, I think we have guys in our locker room who are hungry and want to fight and our ready for that second push for the second half of the season.”

Reader believes there are “no underdogs in the league” and they must take a week-to-week approach. 

It’s a week to week league, it’s what happens, it’s how the league is built,” Reader said. “Usually that’s not good enough to get you in or whatever it is, you have to go out there and fight. I think that’s more so my experience. I hadn’t really had a you come off the bye and we just have to get it done. You see what the league is week to week, you see teams go out there and they may be favored and you see what happens. Last weekend I saw a bunch of underdogs go out there and win. You know that’s how it goes. You have to go out every week and prepare as a team every week. There’s no underdogs in the league. You go out there and play a team that’s a bunch of professional guys who are getting paid to play this sport.”

Reader points out that the Bengals still feel confident at 5-4 and have several AFC opponents remaining on the schedule. 

“It feels a lot better,” Reader said. “We have a bunch of AFC opponents left. Everything we want is right in front of us. Everybody we play is in our division. Everybody that’s sitting at 5-4 with us, we have to play all of those people. It’s an exciting feeling. You know it’s on you and you much rather have it that way then sit there and hoping a bunch of teams lose. That’s a rough feeling when you have to sit there and hope that’s going to happen and this is going to happen, we have everything in front us. That means a lot as a player because you know it’s on you. That’s the way you want it.”


  • Browns DC Joe Woods praised first-round CB Greg Newsome II for making “several plays” in Week 9 against the Bengals: “When you have success, it builds confidence, builds confidence in terms of our scheme, he’s getting better each week.” (Nate Ulrich)
  • Woods said CB Greedy Williams is showing “mental toughness” as he recovers from a shoulder injury. (Nate Ulrich)
  • Woods said second-round LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (ankle) “looked good” in practice on Wednesday and is “optimistic” that he’ll play in Week 10. (Scott Petrak)


  • NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reports Steelers WR Chase Claypool is week-to-week with a toe injury, but he should play again this season. 
  • The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly writes he believes Steelers DE Stephon Tuitt will suit up again and play at some point this season, but both he and the team are being squirrely about what exactly his status is. 
  • Kaboly still believes that if the Steelers make the playoffs and QB Ben Roethlisberger has a decent second half of the year, the veteran will try to return for another season in 2022. It remains to be seen whether that will be in Pittsburgh.
  • Aaron Wilson reports the Steelers visited with LB Sharif Finch.

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