AFC Notes: Browns, Ravens, Steelers


Browns ST coordinator Bubba Ventrone said he had former fourth-round K Cade York as his highest-graded specialist in last year’s NFL Draft.

“It’s not too often you get to actually coach a guy you rank coming out of college at the highest at that position,” Ventrone said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “Last year, grading all of the specialists, the kickers and the punters, I had Cade at the highest. I’m fortunate to be able to coach him this year. I think that he obviously can improve. We’re just going to coach him up, and we’re going to be as good as we can in the kicking phase.”

Ventrone thinks speaking to former Browns All-Pro K Phil Dawson will be a “good resource” for York on how to deal with the elements of Cleveland. 

“I actually touched base with Phil Dawson last year – we played at San Francisco – because he had kicked out there and put our kicker back then – it was (Michael) Badgley – in touch with him just to give him some insight on how the stadium was with the wind and things like that,” Ventrone said. “I think that would be a good resource for Cade honestly to reach out to Phil at some point, which he probably has already.”

Ventrone also thinks former Browns’ return specialist Josh Cribbs will be a helpful resource for Cleveland and wants next year’s kick returners to prioritize “fundamentals and technique.”

“Just being able to impact the game is what we want to do,” Ventrone said. “First, we’re going to emphasize fundamentals and technique, and then those big plays will come. We’re not going to reach for them.”


  • Ravens HC John Harbaugh had high praise of new WRs coach Greg Lewis in an official statement: “Greg has contributed to championship-level offenses and is a proven and creative game planner. His vast experience as a coach and a player will be a significant asset to our wide receivers room. A leader and effective instructor of the craft, Greg has a proven track record of developing talent and maximizing his units’ production.”
  • According to Tom Pelissero, Ravens DT Michael Pierce took a $2 million pay cut in his restructured contract and cleared $2.668 million in cap space.
  • Pelissero notes Pierce can earn back the diminished wages through incentives.
  • Ravens GM Eric DeCosta has made it known that he’s very fond of this year’s cornerback class. With the team potentially losing CB Marcus Peters in free agency, they could turn to the draft to find a high-end running mate for CB Marlon Humphrey. (Jeff Zrebiec, The Athletic)


  • When examining the free agent market, The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly could see the Steelers pursuing Eagles QB Gardner Minshew as a backup to Kenny Pickett if they move on from Mitchell Trubisky, who is set to count for $10,625,000 against the salary cap. 
  • Kaboly thinks Falcons WR KhaDarel Hodge could be a cheap option and insurance for Pittsburgh if they don’t land a significant receiver in the 2023 NFL Draft. 
  • Kaboly points out the Steelers brought in Ravens’ free-agent TE Josh Oliver for a pre-draft visit prior to his rookie campaign in 2019. 
  • Kaboly could see Pittsburgh being interested in Eagles OT Andre Dillard given the team could use adjustments at starting left tackle and swing tackle.

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