AFC North Afternoon Roundup

AFC North Afternoon Roundup
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Manziel showed mostly good form against the Bills last night



In today’s AFC North roundup, Manziel gives the home crowd some excitement and the Ravens boost their fan experience, while the Bengals and Steelers try to solidify their backup QB situation this weekend.


Baltimore Ravens

Ravens fans will have an unparallelled in-stadium experience after the team spent $6.5M to improve WiFi and 360 degree replays. As a point of reference locally, just down the list at (most likely) 32nd in fan experience are the Redskins who just can’t help Snyder-ing themselves after they recently announced their WiFi login requirements.


My Take: I’m looking forward to the unique replay system at M&T bank, and will definitely take advantage of WiFi. That said, I hope they have charging stations. If not, the experience may go downhill when husbands have that extra drink or two post-game with no ability to communicate with their better halves. As far as the Redskins are concerned, no need to troll them. They do a good job all by themselves.


Cincinnati Bengals

To continue this troll-free roundup, instead of discussing Adam Jones’s $100M claim, the focus will be on Monday night’s game where AJ McCarron could make his debut.


My Take: McCarron is the one current hope for the anti-Dalton faithful. He has battled injuries throughout his year plus in Cincinnati, and fans are hoping to see the solid QB they watched when he was slinging it in Alabama. The Bengals did sign Dalton to a nice contract at face value, but they could get rid of him after this season with zero cap hit. The Bengals just need someone to step up and prove they can replace him as an NFL starter; and McCarron was impressive earlier in camp and OTAs.

(Yo Pacman- there is only on cornerback in NFL history who has earned $100M so far, and Champ Bailey barely made it. You never had a chance to top $100M even before you went the felony route…)


Cleveland Browns

Rekindling some of the flame he had before last year’s start against the Bengals, Johnny Manziel made a decent impression last night against the Bills with a 96-yard touchdown drive, which included a 21-yard touchdown pass.


My Take:
The reaction regarding Manziel’s play has been completely boom or bust throughout his short Browns career. There was some the boom talk after last night’s effort, but in general it was filled with cautious optimism. The Browns coaching staff downplayed the performance in part because of the 2nd stringers he was facing on defense. In my opinion, Manziel played himself into some significant first string reps this week and for the 3rd preseason game. It can’t hurt to give him a solid look. He showed his upside with mobility as well as throws he made from the pocket. Before the last drive where no fewer than two defenders had a free run at him as the ball was hiked, he went 9-12 for 112 yards and a TD. He gives the Browns the best chance to exceed expectations as a team in 2015, and he probably gives them the best chance to fail miserably.


Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have an intriguing matchup in their 3rd preseason game this weekend vs the Packers, and it will be interesting to see if they continue their Landry Jones evaluation with Bruce Gradkowski coming off of the Physically Unable to Perform list.

My Take:

Steelers/Packers would obviously make for a better regular season game, but regardless, it will be extremely interesting. There are many questions the Steelers need to address, not just on defense, but also on a non-Ben Roethlisberger led offense. Backup quarterback Landry Jones has thrown the ball 78 times in two games while the team has only had 45 total rushing attempts. If the Steelers are trying to speed-evaluate Jones before his Gradkowski is ready, it might help to give him a balanced offense to keep defenses honest. Regarding Gradkowski, a minor shoulder injury has turned into a now five to six-week delay, raising questions as to when he will actually be ready.

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