AFC North Notes: Pettine, Stewart, Steelers

Browns‘ head coach Mike Pettine’s history as a high school coach might be the reason he likes the success of undrafted free agents, writes Tony Grossi of Grossi notes that Pettine has often felt looked down upon because of his unheralded past, and sees a kinship with the underappreciated talents.

Here are some other notes from around the AFC North:

  • The Browns have taken criticism for a lack of depth on the offensive line, but Grossi believes the injury to Alex Mack was an unforseen setback. He notes that the team’s linemen have rarely missed practice or game time, and that the timing of the injury was unfortunate with Nick McDonald getting back into game shape.
  • Jamison Hensley of doesn’t necessarily see Darian Stewart sticking around after this season. The safety signed a one-year, $1.3MM deal with the Ravens in the offseason and if he wants to come back, it’ll probably be in a bench role. Baltimore will go with either Terrence Brooks or Will Hill at free safety next year. Stewart might balk at that idea or he may be okay with it given his history with secondary coach Steve Spangnuolo.
  • Two key contributors for the Steelers have struggled with consistency this season in cornerback Cortez Allen and linebacker Sean Spence. Allen was benched in favor of Brice McCain, but Scott Brown of writes that the move was more to send a message to allen and reward McCain for positive performance in practice. Spence has not lost his starting spot, but that might only be because Vince Williams cannot cover anyone at linebacker.
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