BEHIND ENEMY LINES: Tough Preseason Week 3 for AFC North

Jarvis Jones

With cutdown days looming, let’s take our weekly look “Behind Enemy Lines” and explore the notable headlines from each AFC North rival.

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Weeden Struggles: After an eye-popping start to the preseason, quarterback Brandon Weeden hit his first rough patch of 2013. He completed less than half of his passes in the imperative third game, throwing for just 105 yards on 25 attempts.

Still trying to hold onto the noteworthy performances that the team put on in the first two games, Weeden assured the media and fans that there is no reason to worry:

“Sometimes, you need a little slap in the face to say, ‘Hey, listen! You need to continue to grind.’ That’s just human nature to get a little ahead of yourself, but what better timing? It doesn’t count toward the win-loss record of the regular season. We can correct all the mistakes we’ve made. We knew it was not going to be perfect all the time. We had been pretty good in the first two games. Now, it’s, ‘How do we deal with that adversity? How do we move on?’ It’ll be a big step for us.”—via ClevelandBrowns.com

Chudzinski Leaving Door Open for Starters: After the poor performance given by the entire squad, Browns coach Rob Chudzinski isn’t ruling out that we will see the starters in the final preseason game. In fact, he’s giving the possibility some real contemplation according to Yahoo! Sports.

More work would benefit everyone, including the young wide receiver corps that is looking anything but definite. Building chemistry is crucial for Norv Turner’s offense.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

First Round Pick Scare: Jarvis Jones has been dominant all preseason long and is proving that his youthful presence will be a big boost for the defense—barring injury.

After suffering a chest injury that didn’t initially look serious, he was taken to the hospital due to the never-encouraging “undisclosed chest injury.”

He was released from the hospital on Sunday, but a timetable on his return is till unavailable. He tweeted after his scare: Thanks everyone for the support!! I’m doing fine”

Running Back Drama: After the injury to Le’Veon Bell, the team addressed the need by bringing Felix Jones to the Steel City. The Pittsburgh offense now consists of an injury-prone Ben Roethlisberger, a massive conundrum at the running back position, and wide receivers that haven’t proven that they can fill the void left by Mike Wallace.

The team cut Barron Batch, Felix Jones is still learning the playbook and offense, and Issac Redmond is hurt.

Does anyone know if Jerome Bettis is thinking of coming out of retirement?

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Struggles against Dallas: Trying to put on a strong showing in game number three and prove that they are the team to beat in the North, the Bengals failed to impress against Tony Romo and the Cowboys.

Here are some noteworthy stats from the team’s dress rehearsal:

  • BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for just five yards on five carries
  • The defense let Tony Romo throw for two TD’s and 137 yards on 18 attempts
  • The starting secondary gave up big games to Dez Bryant and Miles Austin. The pair combined for 10 catches, 113 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Rookie Cobi Hamilton fumbled and gave the possession back to the Cowboys, as did Marvin Jones. Both young wide-outs are trying to earn targets this year.

Team Cuts Six: Along with the Ravens, the Bengals got a jump start on cutdown week as they cut six players to get their number down to 81. Here are the full details from the team website:

The Bengals still have to release six more players by Tuesday at 4 p.m. to get to 75 players after letting go six on Sunday to get to 81.

They terminated the contract of fifth-year tight end Richrd Quinn, releasing him to free agency, and put five others on waivers.

Also released were first-year defensive tackle player Vaughn Meatoga, as well as four undrafted rookies.

Headed to the waiver wire with Meatoga are wide receiver Jheranie Boyd of North Carolina, cornerback Terrence Brown of Stanford, linebacker Jordan Campbell of New Mexico Highlands and kicker-punter Quinn Sharp of Oklahoma State.

Sharp had a solid preseason as a kicker and made a 28-yard field goal Saturday night against the Cowboys to go with a 47-yarder he made in Atlanta in the opener. He didn’t kick off Saturday but had six touchbacks in the previous two games.

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About Joe Wedra

Joe Wedra
Joe is an NFL enthusiast that spends way too much time studying tape, but he wouldn't want it any other way. Joe can be found on Twitter @JoeWedra, where he'll tweet out everything from Ravens analysis to scouting reports on Division II offensive line prospects...all for the love of the...more

2 Raves on “BEHIND ENEMY LINES: Tough Preseason Week 3 for AFC North

  1. Paul Lukoskie on said:

    Joe – I’d hardly call Jarvis Jones “dominant” during the pre-season. He looked lost and overmatched in a lot of circumstances. Unless he had a free lane to go after the QB, it looked like he was pretty raw and has a way to go.

    • Joe Wedra on said:

      Paul- I liked what I saw from him. You’re right that he has a lot of work to do– but he’ll make a big difference in the defense.

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