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News and notes from around the AFC North: Week 1

Each week during the NFL season, I will be running through the top storylines from within the AFC North and giving my brief opinion on each matter that is discussed. Once the season gets into full swing, we oftentimes overlook many prevalent stories around the league, as we narrow our focus solely on our beloved Steelers. Hopefully this weekly piece will provide insight on the important topics in the AFC North and educate each reader on what to expect for each AFC North team moving forward.

With much to discuss and minimal time to discuss it, let’s dive right in!

Bengals have “good plan in place” for Joe Burrow

Amid rumors of a potential contract extension, the most prevalent piece of news from Cincy is the expectation for Burrow to play in Week 1 against the Browns. Offensive coordinator Brian Callahan spoke to the media this past week, and he believes he should be ready to play against their in-state rival:

“I think he’s in a good place and we got a good plan in place for him to get ready for Week 1,”

Divisional games are always crucial, but in a conference as loaded as the AFC, in-division tiebreakers are incredibly important. There is a lot on the line for both teams in Week 1, and without Burrow, it would be a serious uphill battle for the Bengals to go on the road and knock off a Browns team that is oozing with potential. This game could be a tone setter for the season in the AFC North, and Burrow’s availability means everything.

Chiefs DT Chris Jones linked to Browns

This may seem like a nothingburger on the surface, but considering how aggressively minded Andrew Berry has been this offseason, I would not entirely rule it out. On Sunday, pass rusher Za’Darius Smith responded to a Browns podcaster’s split-screen photo of Smith, Dalvin Tomlinson, Myles Garrett, and Chris Jones that was posted on X/Twitter and captioned “Imagine.” Smith responded with the big eyes emoji, sparking rumors in the NFL landscape.

While I do think the Browns will explore every avenue to go all in over the next two seasons, I am not sure if they truly need to add another defensive lineman. An interior that already includes Dalvin Tomlinson, Shelby Harris, Maurice Hurst, and Siaki Ika does not need a guy like Chris Jones. Then again, who wouldn’t love to see Jones play in between Dalvin Tomlinson and Myles Garrett? Jones’ contract dispute certainly makes the conversation interesting, but I do not see Cleveland pursuing him at this time.

Lamar Jackson excited about Ravens’ potential on offense

Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta recently spoke with the media about the new offensive system under Todd Monken, and here was his response:

He seems really into the offense – he’s excited about it. He has an awesome relationship with his coaches, and he worked very hard this offseason with some of the receivers that we brought in, which is awesome to see. I think it’s showing up, and it’s going to pay dividends for us.

The Ravens definitely improved the weaponry around Lamar Jackson, but I still have concerns about Jackson’s fit in this new offense. If Monken’s offense is anything like his previous offenses, Jackson will have to take a step forward as a passer. While I do believe his improved supporting cast helps his cause, I still question how effective he can be as a passer on a consistent basis. Todd Monken will either make or break what the Ravens have built on offense.

What are your thoughts on the latest news in the AFC North? Join our knowledgeable community of fans by creating a free account and then commenting down below!


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