AFC North Notes: Jackson, Browns, Steelers

It didn’t take the Ravens long to start implementing some unique Lamar Jackson-centric packages. But instead of lining the first-round pick up at quarterback in a wildcat-type look during their rookie minicamp, Mike Jones of USA Today notes that Jackson was playing different positions around the formation in a 1995 Kordell Stewart fashion. It’s clear the Ravens, who do not plan to move him to another position long-term, have designs on getting their unique weapon onto the field early.

We do it in the laboratory. Obviously, we’ve had coaches who have had a lot of experience with that, so that’s helpful to us,” John Harbaugh said this week. “We do it on the practice field. We ran a lot of stuff out here today you guys probably saw. We’re going to always try to get our players making plays for us, and Lamar is a guy that can help us win games.”

OC Marty Mornhinweg served as assistant Eagles HC during Andy Reid‘s final Philadelphia years, when the team coaxed electric play from Michael Vick. While Vick eventually supplanted Donovan McNabb, he initially returned to the field in special packages while McNabb started. Jones notes Joe Flacco‘s attitude toward the Ravens’ usage of Tyrod Taylor in wildcat formations was not exactly positive when the team tried this years ago. However, Jones writes the Ravens do not have a defined timetable for when Jackson will make a legitimate push to usurp Flacco.

Here’s the latest from some of the Ravens’ top rivals:

  • Corey Coleman was not believed to be on the trade block during the draft, but Mary Kay Cabot of reports the Browns haven’t been pleased with the 2016 first-round pick. They’ve called for the Baylor product to elevate his work ethic and production. Twice missing extensive time due to hand breaks, Coleman has not lived up to his No. 15 draft slot. And now that a new regime is calling the shots, one that drafted Antonio Callaway in the fourth round last month, Cabot notes Coleman could become expendable.
  • Additionally, the Browns are open to Joel Bitonio replacing Joe Thomas at left tackle, per Cabot. However, the main plan remains to try second-round pick Austin Corbett there. Corbett replaced Bitonio as Nevada’s left tackle in 2014 and started four years there for the Wolf Pack. Both Bitonio, a well-paid guard, and Corbett are almost certainly going to start for the Browns this season, Cabot writes. It’s just unclear where. This would make 2017 right tackle starter Shon Coleman a swing player, with Chris Hubbard set to man the right tackle job.
  • The Steelers‘ draft was too light on defensive help, Paul Zeise of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes. In particular, Zeise zeroes in on Pittsburgh’s third-round Mason Rudolph pick — one he calls a wasted selection because it may do nothing to help the team capitalize on its closing championship window. Ben Roethlisberger made this point earlier this week, and with the Steelers taking more of an upside project in Round 1 in safety Terrell Edmunds and wideout James Washington in Round 2, Zeise writes that the franchise should have devoted a bit more help to its needs on defense as Roethlisberger’s career winds down.
  • In a series detailing every team’s biggest post-draft issue,’s Charles McDonald writes (Insider link) the edge-rushing group sits as the Steelers’ trouble spot. Despite the Steelers leading the NFL with 56 sacks in 2017, and housing upper-echelon defensive ends in Cameron Heyward and Stephon Tuitt, McDonald writes Bud Dupree‘s inconsistency and the lack of depth at this spot could pose a problem for the defending AFC North champs.
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8 comments on “AFC North Notes: Jackson, Browns, Steelers

    • willthathrill

      Does it really matter if hes happy or not? He gets paid to play, if he doesnt like it bench his ass.

      • cka2nd

        Yeah, screw employee morale!

        Except when its cops. Their morale, that we have to ALWAYS care about.

  1. forwhomjoshbelltolls

    In the third round the Steelers got an upgrade to their backup QB spot to play behind a starter who misses 2-4 games most years who could be their starter one day.

    It’s hard to make a better value pick than that.

    But, of course, without ever once looking at the board and seeing whether there were defensive players that could actually help the team next year available they refer to a great pick as wasted because the moron fans and media here would rather have the third round linebacker they invented in their own heads.

    • madmanTX

      Agreed. This was not a great LB draft. Yes, Steelers could have traded up and got one better defensive player. Beyond that, I think they did pretty well with who they got. The Patsies were probably upset (good) about not getting Rudolph themselves. I like Big Ben, but he needs to keep his mouth shut about personnel decisions made by the team.

    • geejohnny

      Well said. It’s part of the yearly ritual in Pitts to moan and complain about who they didn’t draft than who they did.

  2. dust44

    The Steelers got 3 really good football players in the first 3 rounds. They’ve drafted D for so many years. Sometimes u gotta let them play and c what happens alittle more. Chickallo and Adams r both outside backers that were drafted within the last 4 years. Let them get in there and c if they can add depth

  3. Reason to draft a QB: Landry Jones contract going forward. Jones makes 1.9M this year and a 2.2M Cap Hit, Also he is a UFA next year.

    Mason Rudolph will make: 480k-750k with a cap hit of 715-985K. So you need a competent back-up QB. This lets them cut ties with Landry at the end of the season. Dobbs will remain the 3rd string QB, unlikely to ever see the field.

    This move will free up at least 1.5M in cap space for 3 seasons, minor? Sure, but also means they could use that towards a competent starter/fringe starter on the OL or Defense.

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