AFC Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers


  • Bengals QB Joe Burrow‘s performance in leading Cincinnati to the Super Bowl for the first time in more than 30 years despite it being just his second season is drawing rave reviews from around the NFL, per Fansided’s Matt Lombardo. One Super Bowl-winning executive gushed: “I’ll tell you this. At his age, Joe Burrow is better than Tom Brady because of his foot quickness and athleticism. He’s a better athlete today than Tom Brady ever was.”
  • This person was also blown away by Burrow’s performance in college, leading LSU to a national title with one of the best seasons ever for a college quarterback, then coming off of a gnarly torn ACL in November of his rookie season: “To come back from that as quick as he did, and function at the level he did, it tells you something special about his makeup. That’s just so cool. He’s one tough hombre.”
  • Burrow isn’t overwhelming in terms of physical tools like arm strength and mobility, though he can scoot, compared to some of the other young passers dominating the sport. But private QB coach Quincy Avery said Burrow’s cerebral approach is what makes him special: “Joe Burrow is great at all of the things we can’t measure when it comes to evaluating a quarterback. Every time he steps into a game, he makes the right decisions, he gets the ball where it needs to be on time, he has elite anticipation, and he has really good spatial awareness so he’s always able to put the ball in exactly the right spot.”
  • Bengals CB Eli Apple revealed Panthers HC Matt Rhule told him that he would never play in the NFL again when cutting him from the team. (Sheena Quick)


The Ravens have already moved on from one of their coordinators this offseason. As for Ravens OC Greg Roman, HC John Harbaugh said that he plans on the coordinator returning for 2022.

“I mean, nothing is a lock. Nothing is a lock in life, to use that term, but I’m excited about it. I plan on Greg being back. I believe Greg plans on being back, but it’s still early. We’re only three weeks past the season. I know things happen fast for sure, just like you said, but that’s the plan, and I’m excited about that,” said Harbaugh, via RavensWire. 

Harbaugh added that they have a “really good vision” of how to build the Ravens’ offense next season.  

“Offensively, we’ve done some pretty darn good things here over the past three years offensively. I think we have a really good vision and understanding of what we want to build offensively, the players we want to build around and what we need to do it. We came up short this year in a lot of ways. If you look at it and you take a step back, it’s kind of interesting what we did. We gained a lot of yards, but we didn’t do a good enough job of turning yards into points – that’s really what it boiled down to.”

  • New Ravens DC Mike MacDonald on inheriting the defense from former DC Don “Wink” Martindale: “There’s a lot of carryover from Wink because we were together. We see a lot of things the same.” (Jeff Zrebiec)


  • The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette reports the Steelers are considering splitting GM responsibilities between pro scouting coordinator Brandon Hunt and vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan once GM Kevin Colbert retires. In this scenario, Hunt would likely be promoted to director of football operations and handle more personnel, while Khan would handle more of the football administration side.
  • Bouchette also reports the Steelers will probably interview former Bills GM Doug Whaley, Eagles vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl, Packers’ co-director of player personnel John Wojciechowski, and Buccaneers director of pro scouting Rob McCartney, all of whom have ties to the Steelers organization.
  • ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler lists Steelers WR Chase Claypool as someone who could come up in trade discussions this offseason, citing the departure of GM Kevin Colbert and repeated maturity issues the coaching staff has had to address with Claypool. 
  • Steelers HC Mike Tomlin, Colbert, senior assistant of college scouting Rick Reiprish and OC Matt Canada met with Liberty QB Malik Willis at the Senior Bowl. (Mark Kaboly)
  • Nevada QB Carson Strong said he met with Tomlin on Monday at the Senior Bowl. (Ray Fittipaldo)

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