AFC Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers

     

Bengals

  • Former NFL GM and analyst for the Athletic Michael Lombardi writes the most obvious question for the Bengals in 2020 is if first-round QB Joe Burrow looks like a franchise quarterback. 
  • He adds Cincinnati also will be trying to run the ball more effectively, as the fact that Bengals RB Joe Mixon somehow managed 1,100 yards rushing despite the offensive line being so bad proves he’s an elite back.

Ravens

Last year, the Ravens embraced offensive concepts usually endemic to the college game, like the triple option, and behind QB Lamar Jackson set new NFL records for offensive rushing potency. As they go into Year 2, though, Ravens OC Greg Roman said their ability to add wrinkles has been affected by the lack of on-field practice-time this offseason. 

“We’ve definitely tweaked things,” Roman said via the Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec. “We haven’t had the luxury of OTAs and what not to really test run certain things. We have to be really judicious with how we use that time in training camp. I think experimenting this year is going to be very selective.”

  • Former NFL GM and analyst for the Athletic Michael Lombardi writes the most obvious question for the Ravens in 2020 is if they’ll be able to win by throwing more. Lombardi points out Baltimore was 1-3 in games where they had 32 or fewer carries in 2019. 

Steelers

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said their organization has had two players test positive for COVID-19 thus far, but they have “done through the appropriate protocol”. 

We have had two positive tests,” said Tomlin, via the team’s official site. “It’s guys that are not in our facility. They have gone through the appropriate protocol and are back to work. I’m talking about dating all the way back to the spring of this thing there have been two incidents on our football team.”

Tomlin said he intends on starting LG Matt Feiler and OTs Zach Banner and Chukwuma Okorafor for training camp, while DL Tyson Alualu and Daniel McCullers will start as interior defensive linemen. 

“We are going to start with Matt Feiler at left guard. Those young tackles in Zach Banner and Chuks (Okorafor) have been here and have played. So, the combination of those guys provides the most experience for us and that is probably the appropriate place to begin. The same thing with Tyson. Tyson is a veteran football player that has been here, that knows how to play the game. He and Dan (McCullers) are going to start, but he’ll probably take the first snaps based on the things I have talked about relative to current circumstances and we’ll go from there. We are going to have a hard-core plan but be light on our feet to be ready to adjust based on what we see.

As for players kneeling during the National Anthem in 2020, Tomlin said he intends on supporting his players if they wish to do so. 

“As an organization and a staff, we have focused our energies on supporting our players and their wishes and establishing structure and support to the things they want to say and do,” Tomlin said. “We spent a lot of group time talking about the on-going issues, the platform they have and how to best utilize it and how to do so thoughtfully. Our position is simple. We’re going to support our players and their willingness to partake in this, whether it’s statement or actions.”

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