AFC Notes: Raiders, Ravens, Steelers

     

Raiders

While the football world has been buzzing about Raiders WR Antonio Brown‘s various issues, from frostbitten feet to an expired helmet, the Raiders have stayed behind their star receiver.

Raiders HC Jon Gruden said the team has been informed every step of the way through Brown’s ongoing saga. 

“We’ve known the whole time,” Gruden said on HBO’s Hard Knocks via Pro Football Talk. “He had frostbite. He took four or five days to get checked out, and we knew about the [helmet] grievance since the first day of OTAs, which we did. I don’t know what the story — what the f— the story is around here. He’s tried everything, really. I give the guy credit for standing up for what he believes in. Everybody else does it in this country.”

Gruden has consistently stuck up for Brown, both publicly to the press and in private to the star receiver. 

“I know you’ve got a lot of people in your ear, because you’re like a corporation that’s kind of gone global,” Gruden told Brown during the show. “At the end of the day, let’s keep this s— simple. Football comes first. Everybody else is f—ing way behind. You know what I’m saying? You’ve handled all that seamlessly, beautifully.”

  • Ian Rapoport reports that Raiders WR Antonio Brown wore a Schutt Vengeance Z10 LTD helmet during Tuesday’s practice, which is among the 34 helmets approved by the NFL-NFLPA. 

Ravens

Among the myriad of issues that plagued Ravens QB Lamar Jackson during his rookie season, fumbles were a major issue. Jackson had 12 fumbles in only seven starts in 2018. Entering his second season, Jackson says he’s got that issue fixed.

“I think it’s been way better. Just watching the practices, you probably saw it,” Ravens HC John Harbaugh said via Ryan Mink of the official team website. “Lamar makes very few mistakes with ball-handling right now. The snaps have been much more accurate than they have in the past, so that starts everything off on the right foot. You haven’t seen a lot of the more complicated ball-handling plays, but the ones we have run have been well done.”

  • Harbaugh said he had “nothing definitive” regarding CB Tavon Young‘s neck injury and doctors will continue to monitor his progress, per ESPN’s Jamison Hensley

Steelers

  • According to the Athletic’s Ed Bouchette, Steelers QB Devlin Hodges is a nice story but likely won’t make the practice squad. 
  • Bouchette pegs Mason Rudolph as the likely backup quarterback this year. 
  • Bouchette says Steelers CBs Cameron Sutton and Mike Hilton are competing for slot corner duties, with Sutton also able to play outside. Rookie third-round CB Justin Layne could be a gameday inactive for much of the season. 
  • Bouchette believes the Steelers are pursuing a trade for a backup tight end since they have a low waiver priority. 
  • Bouchette adds both WRs Ryan Switzer and Eli Rogers should make the final roster. 

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