AFC Notes: Bengals, Tee Higgins, Ravens, J.K. Dobbins, Steelers


The rebuilt Bengals offensive line appeared to fail its first test of the season by giving up seven sacks against the Steelers in the 23-20 overtime loss. But HC Zac Taylor said when they dug deeper into the film, that performance didn’t accurately reflect how well the line played considering the opponent and the fact they were on the field for 100 snaps. 

“You know what? People are going to write the stories about the sacks because we had a lot of them, and until we don’t have them, that should be the story,” Taylor said via the Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. “I get it. That’s part of it. But I thought the offensive line did a nice job.”

Taylor added some of the sacks were on QB Joe Burrow for not getting the ball out quicker, others were on him for putting the line in a rough spot. The left side of the line was responsible for a lot of the pressure, and while the team expects veteran LT Jonah Williams to play better, they understand fourth-round G Cordell Volson is going to have growing pains. 

“His last two non-Bengals opponents have been two Hall of Famers in Aaron Donald and Cam Heyward,” Taylor said, referencing joint practices with the Rams in training camp. “That’s not the ideal way to start your career. I saw some really good things from him, some really encouraging things. He hung with it over the course of the game. Really, really encouraged by the job that Cordell did. And he’s only going to continue to get better.”

  • According to Ed Werder, the Bengals expect WR Tee Higgins (concussion) to play in Week 2 and his absence from Thursday’s practice was to attend the funeral for his father instead of being injury related. Higgins practiced in full on Friday. 


  • Ravens DC Mike Macdonald said third-round DT Travis Jones is “ready to roll” after recovering from a knee injury: “He looks good, he looks good. He’s ready to roll. So, whenever he is out there, he’ll be rolling.” (RavensWire)
  • Ravens RB J.K. Dobbins said been contacting Giants RB Saquon Barkley about his recovery from a major knee injury and was excited about Barkley’s production in Week 1.  (Jeff Zrebiec)
  • Dobbins confirmed that he suffered a torn ACL, LCL, meniscus, and hamstring which required extensive rehabilitation: “You’ve got your… straight ACL tear. If I would’ve had that, I think I’d be back in like 7 months cause of my work ethic and God-given abilities. All of the stuff I had is more difficult. Nothing I can’t overcome.” (Jeff Zrebiec)
  • Dobbins wouldn’t say whether he will play in Week 2: “We’ll see. That’s the answer I got to give you. But I don’t know, I truly don’t know. Maybe I am, maybe not. We’ll see.” (Jeff Zrebiec)
  • Ravens OC Greg Roman didn’t commit to RB J.K. Dobbins making his debut on Sunday: “He’s going to be out here pretty soon. I can’t put a date on it yet.” (Jamison Hensley)


Steelers QB Mitch Trubisky said that their offense must do a better job of taking advantage of turnovers forced by its defense like in Week 1. 

“I want to score points, I want this offense to score points and be aggressive,” Trubisky said, via Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “When you see the defense create that many turnovers, I know if we take care of the football, we’re going to be in it in the end. … We’ve got to turn it into touchdowns, not just field goals.”

Steelers HC Mike Tomlin said that they didn’t take a lot of shots downfield in Week 1 based on what they felt was “appropriate to win the game.” 

“With downfield throwing comes the potential of negativity and turning the ball over,” Tomlin said. “Environmentally, in the structure of how they function, we did what we thought was appropriate to win the game last week. It has no bearing on how we’re going to function this week.”

Trubisky is confident that they will be able to hit those long passes going forward. 

“We just got to hit them early,” Trubisky said. “We hit them in practice and hit some in the preseason. If we hit that one early to Boykin, maybe that opens some other stuff for us or gives us a different feel on offense. We would like to hit those balls.”

Trubisky added that their conservative play-calling in Week 1 is not their “mindset” and was a reflection of how the game progressed. 

“I don’t think it was a mindset,” Trubisky said, via Ray Fittipaldo. “I think it was just something that progressed throughout the game. When the defense is playing that well and they’re getting turnovers, you just want to take care of the football. But we have to have that killer mindset, an aggressive mentality to take teams out of the game and not allow them to keep it close. I was proud of the way we took care of the football, but you have to have that aggressive mentality to score points. It’s not just the calls. It has to be everybody on the field having the same mindset.”

Trubisky believes that he could improve his timing on deep passes. 

“I think timing, from my perspective, can be better, either getting it sooner or waiting for the plays to develop a little more, allowing the guys to be in the right spot at the right time,” Trubisky said. “But overall, we just need to execute and make the plays.”

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