AFC Notes: Bengals, Raiders, Steelers

     

Bengals

Bengals HC Zac Taylor says he was impressed with rookie QB Ryan Finley, who completed 20-of-26 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns during Thursday’s preseason game. 

“He was very cool and calm. We’ve got a lot of confidence with him in there,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I thought he did a nice job.

Raiders

Raiders HC Jon Gruden said after Thursday’s preseason game that it was encouraging to see WR Antonio Brown back running routes and catching passes from Derek Carr. 

“Hell yeah, it was encouraging,” Gruden said, via NBC Bay Area. “It was great to have him back. You know, it has been a strange couple of weeks with frostbite and his helmet grievance. I can’t say that it’s common, at least in my history in this league. He has weathered the storm, and it’s great to see him out there with his teammates.

“He appears to be in great spirits and appears like he’s ready to get going. That’s Antonio Brown. We’re excited about him. I’m excited about him and could care less what anyone else says, honestly.

  • Regarding the report that he could retire if he was unable to wear his old helmet, Brown told reporters: “I don’t know where they got that, who made that up, either. Why would I retire, man? I’ve got a beautiful career. I’m healthy. I love to play the game… I’m grateful to play the game.” (Michael Gehlken)
  • Brown added that he believes he’s largely misunderstood: “Absolutely, I feel misunderstood. I’m not here to try to win people over or make people feel a certain way about me. I’m an athlete. I’m a human being. I’ve got tough skin. Just treat me like a human. Treat me with respect. But through it all, I’ve got a strong heart.” (Michael Gehlken)

Steelers

The Steelers will give second-year QB Mason Rudolph the start in Saturday’s second preseason game against the Chiefs, as he competes with Joshua Dobbs for the backup job to Ben Roethlisberger.

They’re being evaluated with everything that they do,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “But you acknowledge the in-stadium play is weighted a little bit differently because it’s not football-like. The situations aren’t scripted. It’s football, it’s fluid. Intellect and the ability to adapt and understand the ever-changing situations are part of the evaluation. That’s why in-stadium action is weighted a little bit heavier and appropriately so.”

“I think one of the things that really attracted us to [Rudolph] out of Stillwater [Oklahoma State] was that level of aggression, the way that he attacked defenses vertically and threw the ball,” Tomlin said. “I know that that’s his style, that’s his demeanor — and it’s showing more and more consistently.”

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