AFC Notes: Browns, Patriots, Ravens


  • Scott Petrak of mentions that linebackers Mack Wilson, Sione Takitaki, B.J. Goodson, and rookie Jacob Phillips are competing for three starting spots, as well as spots in one and two linebacker sub-packages.
  • Browns DC Joe Woods and LB coach Jason Tarver have admitted that they don’t know where each player fits best and that the depth chart could change drastically before the season begins.
  • Wilson said he’s focused on improving his eye discipline and study habits and thinks he can make a big leap in 2020: “I feel like I’m going to have a big sophomore year, like at Bama.” (Petrak)
  • Browns HC Kevin Stefanski had no further updates on C J.C. Tretter (knee) or DE Myles Garrett (hamstring), though he hopes to get Garrett back soon. (Nate Ulrich)


After an offseason full of turnover at linebacker, former Patriots fifth-round pick Ja’Whaun Bentley is now the top remaining player on the depth chart at the position. Bentley was a reserve last year and played sparingly, but when Dont’a Hightower opted out, it left Bentley at the top of a position group that already lost Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts in free agency. Patriots LB coach Jerod Mayo says Bentley is ready to put his stamp on the position, though. 

“Physically, he’s bigger than some of those guys last year,” Mayo said via NBC Sports’ Tom Curran. “He’s faster than some of those guys last year. It’s more now (about) making the game slow down for him, getting more reps in practice. That’s why this time right now is so important. But physically, this guy is gifted. He’s a big, fast, strong linebacker, and he’s a smart guy as well. I’m excited. I’m excited to give him an opportunity to be out there for a while.”

Mayo added Bentley will also be taking more of a leadership role than perhaps was expected before Hightower opted out. 

“You lose guys like Hightower and Kyle … Elandon … now Bentley is really the guy as far as mentoring the younger players,” Mayo said. “I think he’s done a great job up until this point as far as his leadership ability, taking control of the huddle and all those things. I look forward to continue seeing that growth going forward. Obviously, we don’t have on pads right now. It’s not 100 degrees out there on a summer day, you’re out there tired and all that stuff. But I look forward to seeing that development continue under strenuous situations. But just his role as far as the communicator at the second level and also just his mentorship role with the younger guys (is important).”


Ravens’ second-round RB J.K. Dobbins said he’s unsure how patient he can be to earn a large role in Baltimore’s offense. 

I mean, I don’t know how patient I can be,” Dobbins said, via Jonas Shaffer of the Baltimore Sun. “My thing is, I’m just trying to work hard. I’m going to try to play. I’m going to try to get on the field some way, somehow. My goal ain’t to be patient. I was not that taught that in college. You know, don’t be patient. Take advantage of your opportunities.”

Dobbins added that he is confident that he’ll receive playing time as a rookie. 

“I’m not saying that I’m going to start or anything, but I feel like if I just work hard enough and show the coaches that I can play at this level, then I’ll be on the field. So my goal is to help the team win the Super Bowl [by] not sitting on the bench,” said Dobbins. 

“My role is predicated off how I practice and how I play,” Dobbins added. “So I’m just [going to] come in, work hard and try to be the best I can, and the chips will fall in where they fall in.”

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