AFC Notes: Bengals, Ja’Marr Chase, Browns, Myles Garrett, Steelers


Bengals WR Ja’Marr Chase said that he’s been facing “cloud coverage” more often and teams are scheming to slow down his route running. 

I’ve been getting a lot of cloud lately. That makes my route change when I get cloud coverage,” Chase said, via Geoff Hobson of the team’s official site. “Bumping me, trying to make me slow down my route, get me out of the play, take me out back side. I’m pretty sure that’s slowing me down now. I have to make the adjustment to beat double teams.”

When asked about a sack-fumble in Week 13 against the Bengals, Chase responded that he doesn’t control what happens with protection and is focused on his assignment. 

“I have no control over that. I can only control the things I can control,” Chase said. “Do my job. Do my assignment at the time. That’s really what football is. Everybody just has to execute on the same page to not make games look like that.”

Chase added that he’s making sure to be on the same page with Joe Burrow, execute all of his assignments, and not commit any drops. 

“It’s just adjusting on the fly, not messing up assignments. Make sure I’m on the same page with the quarterback, no MA’s (missed assignments), penalties, no drops.”


Browns’ DE Myles Garrett was asked if the team had a sense of urgency after returning from their bye week, as they will once again face their AFC North rivals.

“Not as much as I wanted to,” Garrett said, via Scott Petrak of “But we still got another two days. Guys will sharpen up and we’ve got leaders that are on this team who will make them get prepared and get ready for Sunday because it’s not end all be all today. But when the time comes, we need everybody on their p’s and q’s and ready because it’s win or go home right now. I’m not going to sulk or sink my head. I mean, guys go about things differently. It’s not only on us as players, it’s coaches, it’s everyone having a focus on the task at hand. I think we all have to look in the mirror and say obviously if we don’t win this one, there won’t be any postseason for us. We’ve just got to come together tomorrow, today in meetings and we’ll get right. We’ve still got another 48-plus hours.”

Garrett isn’t chasing personal glory this season and is primarily focused on getting the Browns into the playoffs despite their setbacks this season.

“I know nothing matters if we don’t make the playoffs,” Garrett said. “I mean DPOY (Defensive Player of the Year) is nice, but I want to be remembered for bringing some Super Bowls here. I know Bake (quarterback Baker Mayfield) does and everybody else does. Individual glory, that will come and go, but the city will remember a Super Bowl. If I win DPOY and then we don’t win anything, then our names won’t go down and be remembered for anything.”

During the bye week, Garrett spent time recovering in Arizona and was also seen by a doctor regarding the nagging injuries he has been faced with this year.

“Just tried to get some rest and recovery, get my mind off football for a little bit, and then we get back, gotta turn it on and take that next step as a team and as an individual,” Garrett said. “A little bit better. I was hoping a week would do me a little bit more, but not as much as I hoped. Everybody’s said it, no one’s 100 percent by the end of the season or really midseason. Just gotta be the best you can be each week. You’ve gotta keep on trying to stack those days and recover and try to get back to where you were last week.”

  • Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner says he hasn’t seen enough consistency from Browns’ QB Baker Mayfield to call him a franchise quarterback, adding that Cleveland should “play it out” with Mayfield next year in order to make the correct decision on his future with the team. (Nate Ulrich)
  • While the Browns will be without rookie CB Greg Newsome II due to a concussion, the team feels comfortable with CB Greedy Williams as his replacement due to the fact that he has played well this season. (Mary Kay Cabot)


Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger called WR Diontae Johnson a “special talent” after his two-touchdown performance in Week 13. 

“He’s a special talent,” Roethlisberger said, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN. “And I think, to me, the bigger thing is the touchdown that would’ve been an amazing catch earlier, the one that he didn’t catch. He doesn’t go into the tank. He comes back and just makes plays and keeps going.”

Roethlisberger reiterated that Johnson remaining composed “speaks volumes” about his character, especially after struggling with drops to the point of being benched last season. 

“That spoke volumes about who he is and his growth and maturity in such a young football career that he was able to bounce back and just make plays for us.”

Johnson pointed out that he’s been working with equipment manager Lou Balde on unique drills that have helped his catching ability and hand-eye coordination. 

“We just got together and said we’re going to try and get some extra work in,” Johnson said. “He comes up with the drills half the time. … I believe in him that he’s helping me and progressing my game at the same time. That’s been showing.”

  • Ian Rapoport mentions that LB T.J. Watt still has a chance to play against the Titans in Week 15 after tweaking the groin injury that has nagged him all season long.

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