North Notes: Bears, Bengals, Browns, Lions

As part of our Offseason in Review series, we’ve been analyzing teams’ signings, trades, draft picks, and other moves that have occurred since the 2013 season concluded. Our reports on one full division — the AFC North — are complete, so check out PFR’s examinations of the Bengals, Browns, Ravens, and Steelers offseasons. Here’s more from both North divisions:

  • After signing Jared Allen, the Bears moved fellow free agent-signee Lamarr Houston to left end, where he doesn’t have much experience. But, as defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni tells Chris Boden of, Chicago has spent the past month helping Houston with the transition, and the results are positive. “You can see the quickness, speed, and explosiveness he’s capable of playing with,” said Pasqualoni. “He’s going to give us a pretty stout guy on first and second downs, and a guy who’s capable on third down of either rushing inside or outside. He’s going to give us flexibility with what he can do.”
  • Linebacker/defensive end Dontay Moch, whom the Bengals claimed off waivers from the Cardinals, is the latest subject of’s Coley Harvey’s series looking at Cincinnati players on the roster bubble. Moch was with the Bengals from 2011-2012, so perhaps that experience could work in his favor, but ultimately Harvey thinks it’s a coin flip as to whether the 25-year-old makes Cincinnati’s 53-man roster.
  • The Browns were able to retain center Alex Mack, and drafted guard Joel Bitonio, adding to an already promising offensive line, writes Pat McManamon of Along with All-Pro Joe Thomas, Cleveland’s front five should have no trouble keeping either Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel upright.
  • Safety James Ihedigbo is fitting in nicely with the Lions, and his transition to the team is helped by the fact that his new defensive coordinator, Teryl Austin, was his secondary coach while the two were in Baltimore, according to Carlos Monarrez of the Detroit Free Press. “I’m definitely doing the best I can and helping guys understand [the defensive scheme],” said Ihedigbo. “I answer any questions that guys may have. But it’s all about us getting used to it. It’s a new system. The awesome thing is that guys are learning it, they’re learning it quick and they’re being able to play at a high level. And that’s what you want to see at this time of year: guys flying around and it’s exciting.”
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