AFC North Notes: Forsett, Steelers, Gresham

After Justin Forsett‘s surprising emergence as the Ravens‘ best running back this season, fans are wondering if he will have a future in Baltimore beyond 2014. Jamison Hensley of writes that it is too early to answer that question, particularly since Forsett is a small back that cannot withstand a big workload and is 29 years old. Hensley notes that Baltimore could certainly give Forsett a “modest” two-year contract at the end of the year, but the team remains high on younger players such as Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro.

  • In the same piece, Hensley writes that if the Ravens‘ offense continues its upward trajectory under new OC Gary Kubiak, the chances increase that Kubiak will get another crack at a head coaching job in 2015. If that happens, current quarterbacks coach Rick Dennison, Kubiak’s right-hand man, would likely leave with Kubiak, and the Ravens ‘ only other legitimate in-house option would be current offensive line coach Juan Castillo. In other words, if Kubiak leaves, expect Baltimore to bring in an outside candidate to replace him.
  • Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that an appeal hearing date has been set in the Ray Rice case, and a final decision could be handed down by mid-November, which means that Rice could be reinstated and eligible to play within the next four weeks. Whether a team would take the risk and sign him is another story, but La Canfora points to the Colts and Patriots as potential landing spots.
  • Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes that, although the Steelers prefer to “reload” rather than “rebuild,” that strategy has them currently caught in no man’s land: “not good enough to compete for a championship, but not bad enough to select high in the draft.”Although their decision to not entirely rebuild the roster in recent years is understandable, given that they have a franchise quarterback, the declining performance of some of the team’s veterans may soon make Pittsburgh’s front office reevaluate its strategy going forward.
  • Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal describes how Browns OC Kyle Shanahan, like Kubiak, is reestablishing himself as a viable head coaching candidate as he leads Cleveland’s suddenly potent offense.
  • With the trade deadline just over a week away,’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Bengals TE Jermaine Gresham, who is in a contract year, could be available for the right price.
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