AFC Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers


Bengals HC Zac Taylor had high praise of first-round WR Ja’Marr Chase and said the rookie is quickly showing he’s “everything we hoped he could be.”

Ja’Marr has been impressive. He picks it up really quickly,” Taylor said, via the team’s official Youtube. “I know there’s probably some new terms that are crossover from some old terms he’s had that, like any young receiver, it takes a couple days to get adjusted to. But man, he gets lined up quick, he knows what to do, he’s got great hands. He’s everything we hoped he could be here through just the first couple of practices. But really excited to see when we can actually strap on the pads in training camp and see what his game looks like then.”


Ravens QB coach James Urban doesn’t think QB Lamar Jackson‘s contract negotiations will be an issue this season.

“I don’t think it’ll be a distraction,” Urban said via Pro Football Talk. “I have nothing to do with that. I tend to mow my own grass there. We have an unbelievable front office. I know they have plans, and they’re in great hands, and they’ll handle all that [on the] business side.

“We’re just trying to get better and continue growing and improving every aspect of our game, and his game. So that’s all we’re doing. I don’t worry about that. I don’t think he worries about it. He seems to be the same old guy that he is all the time. So I don’t really have many concerns there.”

WR Sammy Watkins mentioned how good Jackson looks so far as the two get comfortable working with each other.

“When you have a guy to win the MVP of the league, he definitely has some special attributes. He’s special,” Watkins said, via Pro Football Talk. “He threw great balls today, some balls that went through a couple hands, and it was very special. He threw one ball that I honestly dropped, so he’s definitely throwing it around and slinging it pretty fast.”

  • ESPN’s Kimberley Martin reports the Ravens are out of the running to trade for Falcons WR Julio Jones for now. 
  • Ravens OC Greg Roman said he wants RB J.K. Dobbins to have more of an impact as a receiver this year: “That’s something we’re working on diligently every day — a threat out of the backfield.” (Jamison Hensley)
  • Roman also added how impressed he is with WR Rashod Bateman: “(He is) business-like, serious, mature and talented in a lot of areas.” (Hensley)
  • Roman mentioned the offense will play more with Jackson under center. (Hensley)
  • On Jackson’s leadership, Roman said it is one of his strengths: “Guys like Lamar Jackson bring all people together. It’s just natural for him. At the end of the day, this young man has a genuine ability to bring people together.” (Jeff Zrebiac)
  • Roman said it was “unbelievable” to get OL Ben Cleveland in the third round, calling him “the best run blocker in the draft” and a “road-grading guard.” (Hensley)


The Steelers will have a new offensive coordinator this year as Matt Canada takes over after spendings his first year in Pittsburgh as the quarterback coach in 2020. Canada’s spin on the offense is expected to feature more motion and play-action, which potentially means fewer shotgun formations that have been a staple for QB Ben Roethlisberger. He acknowledged the new scheme will be a bit of an adjustment for him. 

“Well, we have gone under center, we have shotgun, he has more motion. But I feel like that is where the NFL is going right now, a lot of the jet sweep motions and stuff,” Roethlisberger said via the Athletic’s Mark Kaboly. “I can go under center, I never said I didn’t like it. We will be in the gun, we will move. Like I said earlier, we will throw a lot of different looks and schemes and things at people and see what works.”

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