AFC North News and Notes: Injuries piling up for deflated Steelers
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!
Injuries continuing to mount for the Steelers
The Steelers are coming off an embarrassing 30-6 loss to the Houston Texans, and things are not getting any easier. Not only are the Ravens coming to town, but the team is also dealing with several significant injuries. It is still unclear as to when Diontae Johnson and Cameron Heyward will finally be back, although Johnson’s could be as soon as Week 7. To add to that, Pat Freiermuth suffered a significant hamstring injury Sunday, which is likely to sideline him for 2-3 weeks. Quarterback Kenny Pickett also went down Sunday, suffering a knee injury that does not appear to be anything that will keep him out for an extended period of time. With a Week 6 bye lurking, do not be shocked if the Steelers play it safe and give Mitch Trubisky the start in Week 5.
Bengals offense still in a rut, getting stomped by Titans
The Bengals offense simply cannot get off the ground. Questionable schematics on the part of Zac Taylor and injuries on the offensive front have made the Bengals a difficult team to watch. Blame is being put on many different individuals, but a clear solution is simply not there, as the Bengals still display an incredibly talented roster. Creating more splash plays on both offense and defense will be key moving forward, as the team is currently playing a very vanilla brand of football, especially on offense. Perhaps Joe Burrow’s health is still not where it needs to be, but as Cincinnati falls further and further behind in the division, they need to make quick adjustments to salvage their season.
Offensive line shakeup coming for the Browns
Jedrick Wills was quite the prospect coming out of Alabama, but after slight regression last year, his play has nose-dived in 2023, displaying lackluster play on a consistent basis. The Browns have James Hudson III as a reserve, amongst several others, but it may be time to look outside the building for answers if the Browns want to contend in the AFC. Garrett Bolles is a popular name being thrown around, as he appears to be discontent in Denver and would probably love the opportunity to play for a team with playoff aspirations.
Ravens RB Dobbins rehabbing with Aaron Rodgers
After suffering ACL injuries the same week, J.K. Dobbins and Aaron Rodgers are rehabilitating together. Rodgers recently appeared on The Pat McAfee Show, and he discussed his goal for the training: “This is my full-time job, rehab. My entire focus is to do things that just haven’t been done before. And I hope that in the process that they’ll be inspiration for those other guys who are dealing with the same thing.”
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