The start of the regular season is still four months away, but the teams in the AFC North are already grabbing a lot of headlines in the NFL.
On some days, in fact, it’s most of the headlines.
Let’s start with the team in our back yard, the Browns. Goodness, we better start with the Browns. After all, this is brownsdailydose.com.
The Browns are in the news because they owned a good chunk of the NFL Draft, including the picks at Nos. 1 (quarterback Baker Mayfield) and No. 4 overall (cornerback Denzel Ward of Nordonia High School and Ohio State.
And after going 1-31 the last two seasons, including 0-16 last year, the watch on head coach Hue Jackson has already started.
Can you say, “Todd Haley?”
Then there are the Pittsburgh Steelers, who have owned the division for some time now, but are frustrated because they’ve been owned in the AFC by the New England Patriots. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the Findlay native who is headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday, openly and publicly wondered why the team wasted a third-round draft pick on another quarterback in Mason Rudolph. He tried to make amends by texting his new teammate to have a good rookie mini camp, but he’s not fooling anyone with that. The damage has been done. Everybody knows how he really feels.
And, with that pick, we know how the Steelers feel. Roethlisberger hints at retirement at every turn, so can he really be surprised that they went after a quarterback?
But the Roethlisberger-Rudolph dynamic looks great compared to what is going on in Baltimore, where Browns HOF tight end Ozzie Newsome, in his final draft as Ravens general manager before retiring, used his pick at the bottom of the first round to take a quarterback in Lamar Jackson. Joe Flacco, whose mediocre play the last five seasons forced the Wizard’s hand in making that pick, hasn’t spoken to Jackson yet.
That’s OK. It could get to the point sooner rather than later that people will flip the situation and say, “Jackson hasn’t spoken to Flacco,” if you know what I mean.
And finally, we introduce you to the Cincinnati Bengals, who are making news in that they have a quarterback in Andy Dalton whose mediocrity makes Flacco look like a Pro Bowler, and a head coach in Marvin Lewis who, while once being very highly thought of, has now sunk to the point where he’s known mostly for the fact he somehow keeps his job despite being … well, mediocre.