AFC Notes: Bengals, Browns, Steelers


Bengals HC Zac Taylor said that the team feeds off of QB Joe Burrow‘s competitive nature and physicality.

No, I think Joe thinks deep down he’s a linebacker,” Taylor told SI’s Albert Breer. “That’s what he thinks. And that’s kinda how he plays sometimes, and sometimes I gotta hold my breath when he plays that way. But that’s just the mentality hehas. And he’s the son of a coach. He’s grown up around football, he’s grown up around being tough and then understanding what toughness is, how that can help you as a leader. You don’t always have to just be the most vocal guy yelling and screaming at everybody. You lead through toughness, you lead through knowing what you’re going to do and accomplishing the task that you’re supposed to accomplish. And Joe does that. He’s our linebacker playing quarterback right now, and the team really responds and feeds off of that.


  • Browns HC Kevin Stefanski praised second-round LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koromoah‘s effort vs. Baltimore: “I think you see his length and speed show up on the field which is so important when you’re going up against an offensive attack like the Ravens.” (


Steelers DB Minkah Fitzpatrick said the defense has to practice differently.

“I think there’s certain things that have to change,” Fitzpatrick said, via “How we move throughout the week. Whether it be getting more reps in practice, going at it at a faster pace during walkthroughs and stuff like that. This is my personal opinion that I haven’t discussed with anybody yet. I think kind of a lot of people feel the same way about it.”

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin suggested there will be some tweaks following the embarrassing loss to the Bengals.

“We’re open to some schematic changes,” Tomlin said, via Pro Football Talk. “We’re open to some personnel changes, obviously. They won’t be drastic in nature. Probably more subtle in nature, but hopefully significant. Significant in a positive way.”

  • The Athletic’s Dane Brugler mentions the Steelers have done extensive homework on North Carolina QB Sam Howell. He does not know if that means they are high on him or not, though. 
  • Steelers GM Kevin Colbert has seen Howell in person multiple times this season. (Brugler)
  • Tomlin said LB Robert Spillane has a knee sprain and second-round TE Pat Freiermuth has a concussion. (Brooke Pryor)
  • Tomlin brushed off WR Chase Claypool‘s criticism of the lack of music at practice: “Claypool plays wideout and I’ll let him do that. I’ll formulate the practice approach and I think that division of labor is appropriate.” (Pryor)
  • Steelers DL Cameron Heyward added Claypool’s criticism isn’t the problem with the team: “I hope he was kidding because as soon as he said it I was literally about to rip the speaker out. That is not what we need right now. It’s X’s & O’s and it’s execution.” (Mike Prisuta)

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