AFC Notes: Bengals, Ravens, Steelers


  • The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. highlights the competition at left guard between former second-rounder Jackson Carman and fourth-round rookie Cordell Volson as the most interesting battle at Bengals training camp.
  • Dehner thinks Carman is the odds-on favorite to start Week 1 but adds Volson is a favorite of OL coach Frank Pollack and could get a crack at the job a month or so into the season if Carman is struggling.  
  • Dehner would be surprised if Bengals S Jessie Bates sat out the entire season and turned down $12.9 million on the franchise tag. However, he doesn’t expect him to sign the tag and report until later on in training camp to try and guard against injury. 
  • Another competition that won’t get as much attention as left guard but is still important, per Dehner, is at punter between longtime Bengal Kevin Huber and Drue Chrisman. Dehner adds it might be less important how both perform punting the ball and the actual X-factor might be how well Chrisman does as the holder. 
  • Bengals HC Zac Taylor commented on the team placing RT La’el Collins and G Alex Cappa on the physically unable to perform list: “Collins has a back issue and Cappa is coming off surgery. At this point just easing them in…we’ll get them in at the right times.” (Geoff Hobson)
  • Bengals DC Lou Anarumo revealed CB Eli Apple is the starter ahead of any position battle in training camp: “Eli is the starter until somebody shows me they are better.” (Dehner)
  • Bengals owner Mike Brown said the team’s future negotiations with QB Joe Burrow and their wide receivers impacted the situation with Bates: “He’s a good guy. We like him. He’s a good player. We tried to extend him but we weren’t able to get there. I regret that we didn’t. We’ll have another chance at the end of this season.” (Jay Morrison)
  • Bengals GM Duke Tobin added: “It just didn’t come together. There are no hard feelings with that.” (Ben Baby)
  • Brown also commented on a report from Defector Media about an underage girl who said Carman sexually assaulted her when he was at Clemson: “That was years ago. Back then we were aware of it. The decision was there wasn’t anything to do that should deter us with going forward with him.” (Charlie Goldsmith)


  • The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec estimates there are 41 of 53 final roster spots that are pretty much locked up for the Ravens as they start training camp. There are another eight players who could push for spots if they’re healthy, though it’s likely not all of them will be. That leaves 19 players on the bubble for the last 4-8 roster spots. 
  • Zrebiec highlights OLBs Vince Biegel, Daelin Hayes and Steven Means as players competing to stick, especially if others at the position aren’t healthy. Hayes was a fifth-round pick last year and has flashed in practice, while Zrebiec adds Biegel has worked with OLB coach Rob Leonard before.
  • If Ravens RBs J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards are healthy to start the season, Zrebiec thinks there might not be room for veteran Mike Davis and RB Justice Hill.
  • Zrebiec writes the Ravens are fairly deep along the offensive line and guys like C Trystan Colon, OT Ja’Wuan James and G Ben Powers could get caught up in the numbers game. The Ravens might be able to trade either Colon or Powers, while Zrebiec points out they’d save $3 million by cutting James if he’s not looking like a strong contributor. 
  • The Ravens have a history of keeping undrafted free agents on the roster at inside linebacker and Zrebiec notes they have three candidates this year in Diego Fagot, Zakoby McClain and Josh Ross.


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