AFC Notes: Tee Higgins, Lamar Jackson, Alex Van Pelt, Bengals, Browns, Ravens


  • Bengals Direct of Player Personnel Duke Tobin talked about how WR Tee Higgins makes Cincinnati better: “Really simple. He’s a good player. We want to keep him. We have resources to do that. We’re a better team with Tee.” (Charlie Goldsmith
  • Tobin continued: “[That’s] why [we] franchised him. He’s not under contract so it’s hard for me to predict all the things that could happen.” (Paul Dehner Jr.)
  • When asked about the Bengals using the franchise tag on Higgins, Tobin mentioned they did it intending to keep him around. (Geoff Hobson)
  • On QB Joe Burrow‘s wrist, Tobin said Burrow’s been around the building for rehab, and “all the reports have been really positive.” (Dehner Jr.)
  • The Bengals have announced the hiring of three assistant coaches via their social media: Jordan Salkin (offensive assistant), Ronnie Regula (defensive assistant), and Ben Jacobs (special teams assistant).


Browns insider Mary Kay Cabot explained that it wasn’t former OC Alex Van Pelt’s performance that led to him being fired as much as it was that of QB Deshaun Watson.

“Really just it’s all about new energy, new vibe. Actually, they haven’t even really said it quite like that, but that’s basically what the idea was,” Cabot said on Eye on Foxborough. “They are gearing everything towards Deshaun Watson this year and I think they wanted a coordinator that had experience working with dual threat quarterbacks and that’s their bent. That’s what they like to do. Really, Alex is very steeped in the West Coast scheme. It’s not that he’s not open-minded or open to new things, but I think they just kind of wanted a dual threat QB expert. And we know that (new Browns coordinator) Ken Dorsey has worked to great success with Cam Newton, with Josh Allen, and they just wanted someone like that.”

“If you listen to Aaron Rodgers, he raved about Alex Van Pelt when he was his quarterbacks coach in Green Bay and he was very dismayed that he was let go (in 2018),” Cabot added. “So, we know that Aaron Rodgers loves him. And the Browns coaches really, really seemed to like him. Baker Mayfield really liked him a lot. But I just have a feeling that there was some kind of a paradigm shift that they were seeking when it came to Deshaun Watson and what he can do vs. what Alex Van Pelt is comfortable with.”

  • The Browns are interested in re-signing both QB Joe Flacco and DE Za’Darius Smith, but they are each expected to test the market to figure out their current value, via Mary Kay Cabot of Flacco has expressed interest in returning, but he would prefer to have a chance to compete for a starting job. 
  • Browns GM Andrew Berry told reporters at the Combine that the team’s injured offensive tackles are progressing well and should be ready for the start of the season. (Zac Jackson)
  • Berry was asked about RB Nick Chubb, who suffered a very serious knee injury last season: “We did have to learn to run without him and we did it effectively enough, but Nick is a difference maker.” (Zac Jackson)


Ravens HC John Harbaugh said he appreciates QB Lamar Jackson‘s feedback on personnel and other aspects of the game.

But, so no, I haven’t really talked to him too much. But Lamar, I’ll tell you, he’s great about offering suggestions and ideas, and he and I have a great relationship, where we can exchange different ideas on personnel and things. He’s a huge fan of college football, and I appreciate his feedback,” Harbaugh said, via Ravens Wire.

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