AFC North

AFC North

Speaking of which…

Speaking of which…
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It’s time.

 

The NFL postseason matchups are set.  The final rosters are being determined.  The playoffs are on tap, as is the beer, and the Ravens, as the lone AFC North playoff representative, certainly hope it’s cold.  But that doesn’t address the many immediate changes the rest of the divisional teams have already undergone.  Between personnel decisions, coaching interviews and just plain old controversy, there’s been plenty to talk about.  Speaking of which…

 

Disgruntled Steelers wideout Antonio Brown supposedly became disgruntled over fellow wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster being voted team MVP by his teammates.  Brown’s antics aren’t new; this is the same player that live-streamed a playoff postgame locker room talk by head coach Mike Tomlin a couple of years ago.  This is the same player that, as news of his team trangressions broke, was revealed to be the premier “masked singer” on Fox’s so-named new reality show.  The same player that, without notification, routinely misses practices.  And now, the same player that’s openly advocating for a trade.  My take:  Give him what he wants.  The Steelers, provided the trade compensation is appropriate, don’t need this sort of headache; not in quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s likely final years starting.  Speaking of which…

 

The playoff-bound Ravens will most likely undergo several changes this offseason, most of which will center around jettisoning old contracts.  The Ravens’ “elder statesmen” include linebacker Terrell Suggs, safety Eric Weddle and cornerback Jimmy Smith, all of whom are assumed to be 2019 candidates for renegotiation, if not outright cuts.  One player the Ravens will most likely keep is linebacker C.J. Mosley, whose value is difficult to determine.  The Ravens know firsthand what a leadership void can do to a team – witness the 2013 Ravens in the wake of cornerstone linebacker Ray Lewis’ retirement – so it might be prudent to give Mosley, a model citizen and onfield captain, exactly what he wants.  Speaking of which…

 

What do the Browns want in their next head coach?  Only general manager John Dorsey knows, as reports have been varied and widespread.  As the article notes, there doesn’t seem to be much of a pattern to the list of possible hires; it includes offensive and defensive coaches with assorted coaching track records.  Since open communication with quarterback Baker Mayfield seems to be an imperative for the job, I would expect an offense-driven perspective, or at minimum, that current offensive coordinator Freddie Kitchens will be retained in the same capacity.  The Browns don’t appear to be too concerned yet, as interviews are proceeding, most recently with former Colts and Lions head coach (and Ravens offensive coordinator) Jim Caldwell.  Speaking of which…

 

The Bengals are conducting head coaching interviews of their own.  Given their list of candidates, it’s pretty obvious the team is leaning towards an offense-minded coach as well, although given the staggering amount of injuries the team suffered in 2018, it’s tough to identify offense as the most problematic area of the team.  Including the possible retirement of linebacker Vontaze Burfict (multiple concussions), the Bengals’ defense will have some holes to fill as well.  Seems as though the team needs are pretty balanced; it’s safe to say that the coming draft is wide open for the Bengals, who can go in any direction with justification.

 

Enjoy the week!

AFC North

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