AFC Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers


Bengals HC Zac Taylor said he is “absolutely” confident that their team is still capable of qualifying for the playoffs.

“Absolutely,” Taylor said, via Kelsey Conway of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “I don’t think anybody wants to play us, quite frankly. And we haven’t won all the games that we felt like we should’ve won. But I think our guys have a ton of confidence, and people see what they’re about, see the talent we’ve got in all three phases, and see that we’re going to fight to the last second.”

Taylor added that they must find a way to win their close games following their 26-23 loss to the 49ers in Week 14. 

“Take all these lessons we learned from these tight games and find ways to finish these games off,” Taylor said. “Losing in the manner that we have and we fight hard and make it a good game but you got to find a way to finish off these close games.”


Ravens DC Don Martindale is grateful that the team re-signed veteran S Tony Jefferson given his success in their system from 2017-2019. 

“Oh, it’s great. Any time you get a guy back … And he was part of the No. 1 defense we had here a few years back and unfortunately got hurt the next year. I love his spirit. I love his attitude. Really, like, I told him yesterday … Because you’re thinking about the Green Bay Packers, and then he was out there on the scout team defense, and his number has changed. So, I told him this this morning when I saw him in the weight room; I’m like, ‘I looked out there and said who is [No.] 31? He’s moving pretty good! (laughter) And then I’m like, Oh, yeah, it’s T.J.’ So, yes, we’re really excited about having him back,” said Martindale, via RavensWire

  • Ravens HC John Harbaugh said that Lamar Jackson (ankle) “has a chance” to play in Week 15 and will be a game-time decision. (Jeff Zrebiec)


Steelers WR Diontae Johnson mentioned that committing drops often led to him dwelling on the matter and reading into skepticism against him on social media. 

“It’s just bound to let stuff get to you reading social media,” Johnson, via Doug Kyed of ProFootballFocus. “It’s not like you don’t see it. But at the end of the day you try to put it in the back of your mind, but at the same time it’s steady coming to the front of your mind. Can’t do nothing but think about it. Little off the field stuff as well, so that all played a big part in that mental aspect when it comes to focusing. Because there would be times when I would be thinking about other stuff at the line, and I wouldn’t be locked in, and, boom, dropped the ball and I’m thinking about that the whole game.”

Johnson added that he had to tune out skeptics telling him how he should be playing. 

You’ve got people in your ear telling you what you should do. Too many people just trying to tell you how to play football, and it’s like, ‘Bruh, I’ve been doing it for so long. Who are you to tell me how to catch the ball or run this certain route?’ Just stuff like that. Then you see people on Twitter bashing your name, when they’ve never probably played a down in their life of football.”

As for his goals going forward, Johnson explained that he wants to achieve a Pro Bowl selection, be a top-20 receiver, lead the league in receiving yards, and commit no dropped passes. 

“Make the Pro Bowl, be at least top-20 receiver in the league, top receiving yards and really just no drops,” Johnson said. “Obviously, I’m not going to be perfect, but that’s a real real big one I put up, no drops.”

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