AFC Notes: Ravens, Browns, Patriots, Chiefs

A frustrating year befell the 2013 Baltimore Ravens, unable to match the high expectations set after winning the Super Bowl the prior season. The offense sputtered behind the NFL’s worst rushing offense and inconsistent play from quarterback Joe Flacco, and an average defense couldn’t make up for the offensive deficiencies.

Thankfully, 2014 is a clean slate. According to Ben Smolka of, safety Darian Stewart, fullback Kyle Juszczyk and offensive lineman Ryan Jensen are three players whose stocks are rising after the team’s offseason, while defensive lineman Terrence Cody, center Gino Gradkowski and offensive lineman Jah Reid are on the opposite end of the spectrum.

Stewart, with 19 starts in his four-year NFL career, looks to be the Week 1 starter opposite Matt Elam, Smolka writes. Juszczyk is a perfect fit in Gary Kubiak‘s offense and Jensen can play every position on the offensive line.

More news and notes from around the NFL…

  • As the fallout from the Josh Gordon saga continues, Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer suggests the Browns offer the wideout an ultimatum: enroll in a full-time rehabilitation program in Cleveland right now, or be released. Pluto points out that Gordon’s problems have continued from his time at Baylor and Utah, and it’s time to truly figure out his interest in football.
  • Patriots first-round defensive tackle Dominique Easley is making progress in his recovery coming off two torn ACLs in college, writes’s Mike Reiss, who provides a status update on each of the team’s nine draft picks. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, drafted in the second round, has taken advantage of an opportunity afforded to him by the limited availability of backup quarterback Ryan Mallett.
  • Chiefs rookie running back De’Anthony Thomas told that he’s a player nobody’s ever seen step on the football field, according to Pro Football Talk’s Josh Alper. Thomas also set a number of goals for the season, including winning Rookie of the Year, leading the team in a number of offensive categories and going to the Super Bowl.
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