AFC Notes: Deshaun Watson, Roquan Smith, Bengals, Browns, Ravens


The Bengals added UDFA P Austin McNamara to compete with P Brad Robbins all offseason. McNamara cited ST coordinator Darin Simmons as a big reason why he chose Cincinnati. 

“We had that personal connection over the last month and a half before the draft and that definitely weighed in my decision,” McNamara said, via Geoff Hobson of the team’s website. “We talked during the back end of the draft. He’s very unique in that he’s got a punting background. That really intrigued me. My agent told me a little bit about him. I looked up some stuff about Coach Simmons and my agent told me he’s been in the game a long time. A great coach. I trusted that and I’ve seen it first-hand here.”


Browns QB Deshaun Watson‘s season was cut short in 2023 due to a fractured shoulder. Cleveland GM Andrew Berry updated Watson’s status through mandatory minicamp and believes he’s making great progress in rehab. 

“First and foremost, Deshaun has really worked his tail off during the rehabilitation process over the last several months,” Berry said, via Nick Shook of “He’s really actually ahead of schedule. He’s really chomping at the bit to take the governor off so to speak, but really he’s had a really nice spring. He’s thrown the ball well. Did a really nice job during our 7-on-7 and team periods during this veteran minicamp. So, we’re excited as he gets into training camp and gets the pads on.”

“He’s making excellent progress. Honestly if you didn’t know he got hurt last year, you really wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. We’re very excited once camp starts.”


Ravens DC Zach Orr has a “great relationship” with LB Roquan Smith and feels like he can relate to him better as a former linebacker himself.

“It’s good,” Orr said, via RavensWire. “Me and Ro [Roquan Smith], we’ve built a great relationship since he got here. We continue to build on it. He knows how I roll; I know how he rolls. We’re comfortable talking to each other, sharing ideas, sharing thoughts with one another, [and] we respect one another, so it’s easier. When you have a guy like Roquan Smith like everybody has preached time and time again, he’s one of the best players in this league and one of the best humans walking this earth. And then, when you have one of your best players being one of your best workers, everyone else looks at that and gets inspired. It’s not just players, just coaches and everybody in the building, so him still being here is a blessing for all of us.”

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