Rodney Anderson

Bengals Trim Roster To 53

The Bengals announced their final 53-man roster. One of the moves will be, as expected, placing Darqueze Dennard on their reserve/PUP list. Dennard now must miss at least the first six games of the season. This comes after the Bengals re-signed their former first-round pick on a one-year, $5MM deal. The team knew Dennard needed a post-signing knee surgery, but the arthroscopic procedure was performed several months ago.

Cincinnati is also placing Jonah Williams on its PUP list instead of season-ending IR. While the first-round tackle was believed to be set to miss the season, this move is a way of retaining a chance he can recover. Williams would revert to IR if he cannot recover from the shoulder injury he sustained this offseason.

Here’s the full list of the Bengals’ moves to meet the 53-man limit:

Placed on Reserve/Injured list:

Placed on the Reserve/PUP list:

  • CB Darqueze Dennard (sixth-year player, Michigan State; knee injury)
  • OT Jonah Williams (rookie, Alabama; shoulder injury)

Released:

Waived:

Suspended:

  • G Alex Redmond (third-year player, UCLA, suspended for four games)

All of the waived players, except for Core, will be practice squad eligible if they clear waivers.

AFC North Notes: Steelers, Bengals, Browns

The Steelers will use the preseason to determine their backup quarterback behind Ben Roethlisberger, but 2018 third-round pick Mason Rudolph appears to have a leg up over fellow signal-caller Josh Dobbs, as Ed Bouchette of The Athletic writes. Dobbs, a fourth-round selection in the 2017 draft, served as Pittsburgh’s No. 2 last season, but managed just 12 passing attempts in relief of Roethlisberger. Rudolph, meanwhile, only played during the 2018 preseason, completing 24-of-44 passes for 315 yards. “I had the general concepts down and our plays but there are things that you take a little deeper dive,’’ Rudolph said. “Run schemes, protections, signals. Just the no-huddle calls. Ben does such great job of ad-libbing.” As Bouchette notes, No. 3 quarterbacks rarely get significant practice reps during the regular season, so if the Steelers view Rudolph as Roethlisberger’s successor, he could use the practice snaps due a backup quarterback in order to develop this year.

Here’s more from the AFC North:

  • Another Steelers battle is taking place at wide receiver, where veteran Donte Moncrief appears to be the frontrunner for No. 2 duties behind JuJu Smith-Schuster, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Moncrief, who signed a two-year, $9MM deal with Pittsburgh in March, is competing against 2018 second-round pick James Washington and 2019 third-rounder Diontae Johnson for time. In his first and only season with the Jaguars in 2018, Moncrief posted 48 catches for 668 yards and three touchdowns, but ranked as a bottom-15 wideout in Football Outsiders‘ efficiency metrics. The Steelers lost the second-most air yards and sixth-most targets of any NFL team during the offseason, so there should be plenty of work to go around.
  • Bengals sixth-round rookie running back Rodney Anderson has been cleared to practice, tweets Ben Baby of ESPN.com. Once viewed as a potential early-round selection, Anderson suffered a torn ACL during his final season at Oklahoma and subsequently fell to Day 3 of the draft. In 2017, however, Anderson put up 1,161 yards on the ground and scored 18 total touchdowns. Cincinnati is set at the top of its running back depth chart with Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard, but Anderson and fellow sixth-round rookie Trayveon Williams should make the roster as reserves.
  • After the Browns traded Kevin Zeitler to the Giants, Austin Corbett was thought to be a shoo-in to take over as Cleveland’s starting right guard. But the 2018 second-rounder may not enter the regular season as one of the Browns’ top five linemen, per Graziano (Instagram link). Corbett hasn’t had the offseason the Browns “wanted or expected him to have,” so much so that veteran Eric Kush could end up starting at right guard. Kush, 29, started seven games for the Bears in 2018 and has appeared in 33 career contests.

AFC North Notes: Jackson, Steelers, Bengals

The RavensLamar Jackson interest began before his junior year at Louisville. It escalated a few weeks before the 2018 draft. During a disagreement among Ravens staffers regarding quarterback preferences going into a draft that would have five QBs taken in the first round, John Harbaugh pronounced his willingness to build a new offense around the dual-threat passer.

If we draft Lamar, I’m good with that,” Harbaugh said during an hours-long discussion about Jackson (via The Athletic’s Dan Pompei, subscription required). “We can build an offense around him. We’ll play great special teams, great defense and be a ball-control offense. We’ll build a big, physical offensive line. We’ll get physical running backs. We’ll block on the perimeter. We’ll run all the elements of the college offense. We’ll do something different.”

After choosing Jackson, the Ravens rode some of Greg Roman‘s Colin Kaepernick-based concepts to a division title. Harbaugh, Roman and then-OC Marty Mornhinweg considered going back to Joe Flacco when the Ravens’ offense stalled for much of their wild-card loss to the Chargers, but each of Harbaugh’s assistants agreed Jackson gave the team the best chance to win. As for the Ravens’ 2019 offense, it will feature similar run designs to what was used last season. But Pompei adds the passing attack was considerably revamped in the offseason.

I expect this to change the way offensive football is played in the National Football League,” Harbaugh said. “Not that everybody is going to take on this style. But I expect us to create something that hasn’t been seen before. … I think we’re going to be in more elements than any team has ever been.”

Here is the latest from the AFC North, shifting first to Pittsburgh:

  • This weekend, Artie Burns is due an $800K bonus. If the Steelers are to move on from the former first-round pick who has not lived up to that billing, they would stand to limit their losses by doing so soon. Burns’ camp, however, is confident the fourth-year corner will still be a Steeler by week’s end, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com tweets. Pittsburgh still has Joe Haden and Mike Hilton and added UFA addition Steven Nelson and third-round pick Justin Layne.
  • A hamstring injury will move T.J. Watt to the Steelers’ active/PUP list, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic tweets. The Pro Bowl outside linebacker should be expected to return fairly soon.
  • The Bengals placed Darqueze Dennard and running back Rodney Anderson on their active/PUP list. Dennard underwent offseason knee surgery, while Anderson’s college career ended after an ACL tear. The former Oklahoma running back is a candidate for the reserve/PUP list to start the season, per Fletcher Page of the Cincinnati Enquirer. Should Anderson stay on the PUP list to start the season, he must remain there for six regular-season weeks.

AFC North Notes: Ravens, Ben, Bengals

Sidelined with a Lisfranc injury that kept him from performing at the Combine, Marquise Brown has resumed running, Jeff Zreibec of the Baltimore Sun tweets. Although Zreibec adds (on Twitter) Brown will miss Ravens OTAs, he is still believed to be in good shape for an on-time debut. A minicamp return was once thought to be a target of Brown’s, the first wide receiver taken in this year’s draft is believed to be ahead of schedule. The Ravens seem to be expecting Brown to be ready by the time their rookies report for training camp. Lisfranc injuries can be quite tricky, so the Ravens showing caution with Brown certainly makes sense. It will be interesting how the Ravens will use the deep threat, considering how their previous long-range target, John Brown, saw his production hit a wall after Lamar Jackson took the reins last season.

Here is the latest from the AFC North:

  • Ben Roethlisberger did not opt to gather Steelers skill-position players together for private workouts in recent years, but that changed recently. The 16th-year quarterback brought several Steelers weapons, including JuJu Smith-Schuster and James Conner, to his lake house in Georgia for some on-field work, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com notes. This figures to be an interesting offseason for Roethlisberger, who will be working with a younger (and less proven) receiver cast after Antonio Brown‘s ugly departure.
  • The Bengals likely will again turn to Giovani Bernard as Joe Mixon‘s top backup, but the team did add two running backs in the sixth round — Trayveon Williams and a former college backfield stablemate of Mixon’s in Rodney Anderson. The Oklahoma product is coming off an ACL tear that marred his final Sooners season. Anderson, who tore the ligament in September of last year, will not participate in Cincinnati’s offseason program but is expected to be ready by the start of training camp, Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes. Anderson left Oklahoma early despite the injury and comes to western Ohio after a litany of maladies. Prior to the ACL tear, he suffered a broken leg, a neck injury that nullified his 2016 season and ankle tendon damage. But Anderson led the Sooners with 1,161 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in 2017.
  • On the subject of reserve running backs, Kenneth Dixon‘s Ravens role may be in jeopardy. The team added Mark Ingram in free agency and drafted Oklahoma State’s Justice Hill in the fourth round. The Baltimore backfield houses holdovers in Dixon and Gus Edwards, but Zreibec writes (subscription required) the older player is the more likely player to be the odd man out. Injuries and suspensions have marred the 2016 fourth-round pick’s career. Dixon did average 5.6 yards per carry on 60 totes last season.

AFC Draft Pick Signings: 5/10/19

The latest 2019 draft pick signings from around the AFC:

  • The Jets agreed to terms with two more rookies, signing fifth round linebacker Blake Cashman and sixth round cornerback Blessaun Austin. Cashman had 104 tackles at Minnesota last year, including 15 for a loss. He earned a second-team All-Big Ten selection for his work last year. Only third overall pick Quinnen Williams and third-rounders Jachai Polite and Chuma Edoga remain unsigned for New York.
  • The Chargers inked two more players to their rookie deals, signing fifth round quarterback Easton Stick and fourth round linebacker Drue Tranquill. Stick, a North Dakota State product, was highly productive as a runner in college and many analysts projected a potential position change in the pros. That being said, the Chargers have said they plan on keeping Stick at quarterback. Tranquill is now wrapped up, and the Chargers can hopefully get his Notre Dame teammate, Jerry Tillery, signed soon. Most of the Chargers’ draft class remains unsigned as they just inked their first player earlier today.
  • The Bengals signed a crop of five players, representing half of their class. They wrapped up fourth-rounders Renell Wren and Michael Jordan, sixth round running backs Trayveon Williams and Rodney Anderson, and seventh round cornerback Jordan Brown. Jordan, a Miami product, has some potential upside and could help replenish Cincinnati’s secondary. Williams, from Texas A&M, and Anderson, from Oklahoma, will be battling it out for a role behind Joe Mixon in the Bengals’ backfield. Anderson used to be seen as one of the nation’s top running backs, but injuries have derailed his career. This draft class will always be a monumental one for the Bengals, as it represents the first year of the post-Marvin Lewis era.