AFC Notes: Lamar Jackson, Patrick Queen, Bengals, Ravens, Steelers

Bengals

Bengals DL coach Marion Hobby said second-round DT Kris Jenkins Jr. has the strength to play the interior role and fill D.J. Reader‘s former role. 

“I’m not going in there. He might have to,” Hobby said, via Geoff Hobson of the team’s site. “He’s comfortable in there. I talked to him about it. He says, ‘Coach, no problem. That’s second nature to me.’ I think he can swing anywhere he wants to swing in there. He’s strong enough. Sometimes it’s beating them to the punch. It’s not so much heaviness, it’s getting hands on them before they get their hands on me.”

Jenkins Jr.’s father, former DT Kris Jenkins Sr., thinks his son will transition well into the NFL. 

“I’ve got every confidence in the world he’ll adjust and he’ll have his opportunity to write his name in the books,” Jenkins Sr. says. “I think once he gets used to it, it’s easy because when you can fire out, disruption is just as good, as long as you maintain gap control. I think he’ll figure out how to play half a man. The worst of it is going to be the double-team reads. He’ll be fine as long as he has good technique, I think he should be fine.”

Jenkins Jr. said he has “flashes” of the mentality his father played with, but just wants to prove himself as a professional. 

“There are flashes,” Jenkins Jr. said. “I still have yet to do anything at this level. He’s already done that. Now it’s my turn. Especially in this (draft and rookie) process, they’ve both been great father figures for me, especially my dad.”

Ravens

Ravens QB coach Tee Martin explained how QB Lamar Jackson continues to grow and develop.

“It takes him understanding how we’re blocking things up front to get us to the best run and the best pass for whatever coverage we’re facing,” Martin said, via Ravens Wire. “He’s accepted it and done a heck of a job of getting us into the right play, and today was probably the best day in a long time of him really just having the freedom to do what he wants to do. We saw some really good plays and some positive gains with him doing that today.”

  • According to ESPN’s Seth Walder, Baltimore’s new coaching research engineer Ben Davis was a 2024 Big Data Bowl finalist. 

Steelers

Steelers LB Patrick Queen said he expected some blowback when joining the team given he spent 2020-2023 with the Ravens, but things have gone smoothly. 

“When you’re on the opposite of the rivalry, you don’t know everybody, but you know the team,” said Queen, via SteelersWire. “So, I did expect some people to have some attitudes. I did expect some people to be a little rough. But everybody’s been smooth, everybody been cool. T.J. is the one I expected to be on the other side. But everybody is cool. I couldn’t ask for a better place.”

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