AFC North: Recapping the Last Few Weeks

Aug 13, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) in a preseason NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 13, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III (10) in a preseason NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports /

A lot has been happening in the AFC North lately. All four teams have dealt with things that have changed their franchise or will change it shortly. If you have been away from the NFL game, here’s a quick recap for you to catch up

In Pittsburgh

The news have mainly came from the offensive side. As we all know by now, Martavis Bryant has been suspended for one year due to another drug issue. Bryant missed multiple drug tests which accounts for failed drug tests. A year after being suspended for four games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, Bryant has done it again. At least this time, he has acknowledged his issue and plans to check into a rehabilitation center.

However, as much as Martavis Bryant‘s suspension affects the strength of the Steelers’ receiving corps, it really won’t affect the production of the Steelers passing attack. The truth is, the Steelers are so deep at that position and the next guy up is ready. The Steelers have Sammie Coates, Markus Wheaton, Darrius Heyward-Bey and the newly signed Ladarius Green all waiting for increased playing time. The Steelers will go on, but hopefully Martavis Bryant won’t turn into the next Josh Gordon.

On the other side of things, Steelers’ General Manager Kevin Colbert believes that Ben Roethlisberger has 3-4 more years in his prime. This only reinforces the fact that the Bengals-Steelers rivalry is not going anywhere for the next couple years if he can stay healthy for that time. Nothing is better than watching the Steelers and Bengals (fully healthy) going at it. Even when these two teams are injured, it’s still the best rivalry in the NFL, maybe even in sports.

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Moving on to Cleveland

The Browns made the biggest splash in the division, and have finally brought in their quarterback, at least we think. Former Rookie of the Year, Robert Griffin III, has signed to become the next quarterback in the quarterback graveyard that is Cleveland. Maybe I’m just too biased towards Griffin, but maybe he could turn around the Browns franchise. That’s a joke guys. No one could do that. Maybe, just maybe, Griffin can actually make them competitive and become that quarterback that he used to be; this Cleveland team isn’t much different from that Washington team he played on.

Griffin has a great opportunity in Cleveland. If the Browns could give him a solid offensive line and somehow get Josh Gordon back, it could help Griffin out tremendously.  Gordon and RGIII used to light up the stage as teammates at Baylor, therefore, that connection would work wonders. Also having Hue Jackson as his head coach, could be the best situation Griffin has been in to date.

Across the State in Cincinnati

We’ve finally made a couple free agent signings. The Bengals signed former Browns LB Karlos Dansby and former Patriots WR Brandon LaFell. Dansby is a great player that only gets better with age. Last season with the Browns, Dansby led the team in tackles and played all 16 games. 

The Bengals now have a very deep rotation at linebacker with Dansby, Rey Maualuga, Vontaze Burfict, Vincent Rey, P.J. Dawson, and A.J. Hawk. At wide receiver, Brandon LaFell gives a little assistance. After a really down year in New England, it’s hard to see what he has to offer to Cincinnati. LaFell struggles with dropped passes constantly, but after losing Marvin Jones and Muhamed Sanu to free agency, Cincinnati definitely needs help.

Lastly, In Baltimore

The Ravens lost a teammate and a brother in Tray Walker.  The 23-year-old cornerback passed away after a dirt bike accident. Something like this hits a team hard and some things have to be put on hold because of it. The thing that is on hold at the moment is signing running back Trent Richardson. Richardson has been in constant talks with Coach Harbaugh and looks like he’s in tip-top shape for his comeback.

The Ravens definitely plan on signing him and when they do, T-Rich will be put into a system that fits his skill set. The last time he was successful, was when he was in the AFC North as a Brown. All four AFC North teams employ a heavy ground and pound I-Formation running game, which suits T-Rich. Richardson could have a major comeback, but let’s see him sign his deal first.