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AFC North Roundup
02-14-2019, 09:45 AM,
Post: #1
AFC North Roundup
September 20 Youth Myles Garrett Jersey , 2018 Through two weeks, the AFC North is starting to stratify. At the top are the Cincinnati Bengals, 2-0 on the season. The Baltimore Ravens, meanwhile, are 1-1. And then there are the Cleveland Browns, at 0-1-1 and looking to get their first win over the New York Jets on Thursday night. Also at 0-1-1 are the Pittsburgh Steelers, who will have to topple the undefeated Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night in order to pick up win No. 1. But there’s a lot of football yet to be played and all four teams in the AFC North are trying to do work to get better and keep—or start—winning. Here’s the latest news around the division, non-Browns edition.Pittsburgh Steelers: Drama has been surrounding the Steelers for years now, and this week was no different. Antonio Brown’s tweet required his agent to respond, and his absence from Monday’s meetings led head coach Mike Tomlin to hand down some unspecified discipline. Finally, Brown spoke to the media on Thursday and Behind the Steel Curtain’s Simon Chester has the highlights, including Brown saying point blank, “We’re losing. We suck.”Concerning Steelers drama not involving Brown, the team is both literally and symbolically moving on from absent running back Le’Veon Bell. Chester reports that now Bell is not just off of the team’s depth chart but has also been removed from their official roster and associated game day media. Cincinnati Bengals: With Joe Mixon missing at least two weeks after undergoing a relatively minor knee surgery, that makes Giovani Bernard the Cincinnati Bengals’ new starting running back. Cincy Jungle’s Patrick Judis reports that Bengals coaches have no concerns about Bernard handling the bulk of the carries during Mixon’s absence.Bernard won’t be toting the ball alone Myles Garrett Jersey , though. Rookie back Mark Walton is also in line for carries. And with another back, Tra Carson, being waived this week with a hamstring injury, the Bengals also signed veteran Thomas Rawls to add depth. Jason Marcum reports that Rawls was among at least five running backs the team worked out this week.The Bengals will also have to do without starting center Billy Price for some time. Marcum reports that Price has a foot injury that will hold him out at least two weeks, after which he will be reevaluated. For now, he’ll be in a boot, and Trey Hopkins will start at center in the interim.Baltimore Ravens: Baltimore Ravens linebacker C.J. Mosley hobbled off the field in last Thursday’s loss to the Bengals, the fear being a significant knee injury. But the Ravens—who in recent seasons have been hit hard by the injury bug—seems to have dodged a bullet. Baltimore Beatdown’s Jacob Loque reports that Mosley returned to practice on Thursday. While that’s no guarantee that he will play on Sunday against the Denver Broncos it is at least a sign that the injury was not as serious as first feared.Logan Levy writes that the Ravens offensive line will be tested yet again on Sunday against Denver and its significant pass-rush. The Broncos defense has sacked quarterbacks seven times already, four of those belonging to linebacker Von Miller. Joe Flacco has been sacked five times through two games, four of those (and numerous other pressures) coming last week against the Bengals. Sam Darnold once thought he'd be wearing an orange helmet just a few shades brighter than his hair color.But the former USC star wasn't precisely what the Browns were looking for in a franchise quarterback in the NFL draft. Darnold checked most of the boxes, but not all of them and Cleveland passed on him with the No. 1 overall pick, selecting Baker Mayfield instead.On Thursday night, Darnold can show the Browns they made a mistake.Another one.The youngest quarterback to start a season opener since 1970, Darnold will perform on a national TV stage for the second time already as a pro when he leads the New York Jets into FirstEnergy Stadium to face the Browns, who have played well enough to win their first two games but are still searching for their first victory since Dec. 24 Authentic Derrick Kindred Jersey , 2016.Heading into April's draft, Darnold was considered the top of the deep 2018 QB class and it appeared he would wind up in Cleveland, where quarterbacks have come and gone like restaurant busboys over the past two decades."Yeah, I thought I could've ended up there or several other teams," Darnold said this week. "I was excited to go anywhere. "Whoever wanted me, whoever wanted to pick me as a top pick, to me it was a dream come true right when it happened."After the Browns nabbed Mayfield and the Giants grabbed running back Saquon Barkley, the Jets took Darnold and have been more than satisfied by his early development.He rebounded from throwing an interception that was returned for a TD on his first pass attempt in the opener and led the Jets to a 31-point win, and last week the 21-year-old became the youngest QB to pass for 300 yards.Darnold insists he's not seeking any revenge or trying to prove anything to the Browns."No," he said. "I'm just going to go out there and play ball."The Jets and Browns are on divergent paths with their rookie quarterbacks. New York has chosen to start Darnold, while Cleveland is holding Mayfield out to watch and learn behind Tyrod Taylor.It's not a race and the Browns feel no need to rush their plan."We feel very comfortable with the guy that we selected in Baker, and I'm sure they do with him," coach Hue Jackson said. "He's a fine prospect and is going to be a fine player. I think they got a good one, but we feel we have a really good one, too."After facing Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees 鈥?two future Hall of Famers 鈥?in Weeks 1 and 2 Youth Joel Bitonio Jersey , the Browns aren't looking at Darnold as any break."I don't think that any game in the NFL is a breather," said linebacker Joe Schobert."He's got a big arm. He's doing good things as their quarterback. The hardest thing to do is come into the NFL and play quarterback and be successful. And he's so far shown himself to be pretty poised and good at it."PRESSURE PACKEDThe Browns are down and desperate. They need a win, and after stubbing their toes twice already, need to beat the Jets. A 1-1-1 record seems light years from 0-2-1."Our team is excited, hungry, disappointed, anxious 鈥?all of those words you want to use," said Jackson, who is 1-32-1 in two seasons. "We just need to get it done."BACK 'HOME"The Dawg Pound will be a homecoming of sorts for several current Jets, who are former Browns.Running back Isaiah Crowell played the past four years in Cleveland. Wide receiver Terrelle Pryor spent two seasons with the Browns, including a breakout campaign in 2016 when the former quarterback had 1,007 yards. His QB for parts of those seasons was Josh McCown, now Darnold's backup and mentor.Cornerback Buster Skrine played in Cleveland from 2011-14. Jets coach Todd Bowles, too, has Cleveland connections as an assistant under Butch Davis from 2001-04.ALIVE & KICKINGGreg Joseph was on the beach hanging out with friends last weekend http://www.brownsauthorizedshops.com/aut...bah-jersey , "you know, just living the South Florida life." Things changed quickly.The rookie is now in the spotlight 鈥?or crosshairs 鈥?as Cleveland's new kicker. Joseph signed this week after the Browns cut Zane Gonzalez for missing two field goals and two extra points last week.Joseph, who spent the preseason with Miami, is excited about the opportunity."My film's out there. My stats are out there," he said. "I learned a lot about me, the athlete I am and the competitor I am. I'm ready to bring it here."Q IS THE ANSWERDarnold's favorite target through two games has been wide receiver Quincy Enunwa, who has a team-leading 13 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown. Enunwa has been targeted 21 times, more than Pryor (11), Robby Anderson (six) and Jermaine Kearse (two) combined.SACK RACEThe Jets got their first four sacks of the season last Sunday against Miami, the most since getting to Taylor seven times when he played with Buffalo in Week 9 last season."The whole unit, we definitely picked it up last week," defensive end Leonard Williams said. "We didn't have any sacks in the first week, even though they got the ball out pretty quickly. At the same time, I don't want to make excuses. We definitely picked it up last week and I hope we continue to make strides on that." Custom Pittsburgh Steelers Jerseys
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