AFC Notes: Steelers, Browns, Jets, Pats

Some news and notes from around the AFC:

  • While Ben Roethlisberger might be healthy enough to play Sunday, he’s set to be inactive and the Steelers will start Landry Jones at quarterback. The decision to keep Roethlisberger off the field for another week was influenced by both a desire to steer him clear of the Chiefs’ pass rush (specifically Justin Houston and Tamba Hali) and Pittsburgh’s need to have him as healthy as possible for a Week 8 showdown with AFC North-leading Cincinnati, according to ESPN’s Ed Werder (via Twitter).
  • The Browns’ defense has been a colossal disappointment this season (31st in yards per game, 24th in points), but there is disagreement from within as to why, Bud Shaw of the Northeast Ohio Media Group writes. Some members of the defense have questioned the scheme, while coordinator Jim O’Neil has pointed to a lack of execution on the field. Whatever the problem is, things could get worse Sunday against Rams rookie running back Todd Gurley who is averaging a stellar 5.7 yards per carry and looks primed to bludgeon Cleveland’s last-ranked ground defense.
  • Former Jets head coach Rex Ryan was known for hyping up games against AFC East rival New England during his time in New York. His successor, Todd Bowles, has a calmer outlook as his 4-1 club looks to seize first place in the division from the 5-0 Pats on Sunday. “We’re going to take the same approach we’ve been taking,” Bowles said, according to Mark Cannizzaro of the New York Post. “You don’t get up or down for one game because it means you haven’t been playing hard in the first place.”
  • The Patriots’ cornerback stable has spent a great deal of time in flux going back to the offseason: Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner and Kyle Arrington – all of whom played key roles last year – are gone, two replacements were cut during the summer, and another (Tarell Brown) landed on season-ending injured reserve earlier this month. Luckily for the Pats, the emergence of Logan Ryan in a starting role opposite No. 1 corner Malcolm Butler has helped their secondary avoid any serious turmoil, writes Mike Petraglia of WEEI.
  • The Jets were so hard up for a replacement for injured punter Ryan Quigley that they didn’t even work out Steve Weatherford before signing him Saturday, reports Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News (Twitter link).
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