What a week it was in the AFC North! Two match-ups between rivals may have revealed a bit about what kind of squads we are dealing with in 2013.
It’s time to take another look “Behind Enemy Lines” as we recap and take a closer look at this weekend’s games.
Cameron Making a Difference: Although the struggles of Brandon Weeden have been highly documented, he’s been helped greatly by tight end Jordan Cameron. After grabbing five balls for 95 yards on Sunday, he’s quickly becoming Weeden’s favorite target.
The 6’5” threat only had 20 receptions last season, but he’s on pace to at least triple that number in 2013. Josh Gordon is coming back from his two-game suspension—maybe taking away targets from the tight end—but I expect Cameron to play a big role in the Cleveland offense going forward.
Mingo Makes a Difference: First-round pick Barkevious Mingo made a big impact in his first game as a Brown, making several plays to help spark Cleveland’s defense.
He blasted past the Ravens offensive line to take down Joe Flacco for his first career sack and showed athletic bursts on many others as well. He’ll be a force on the Browns defensive line for years to come, and he and former Raven Paul Kruger will complement each other nicely.
Offensive Struggles Continue: Oh, what a complete disaster the Steelers offense is! After watching Monday night’s debacle in Cincinnati, it’s become clear that Todd Haley and the Pittsburgh offense have a lot of work to do—work that isn’t going to make an immediate impact, either.
The offensive line is horrible, there’s no other way to spin it. Ben Roethlisberger is constantly over-throwing his dismal receiving corps, and running backs? What running backs? Felix Jones is providing little help after rookie Le’Veon Bell went down with a foot injury and Mike Tomlin might be better off sticking Troy Polamalu at H-Back provided what’s going on right now.
Battle with Chicago: The team is already looking ahead to next week’s match-up against the Bears on Sunday night. With a short week to work with and an opponent that has had a hot start, things aren’t looking up for Pittsburgh.
Here are a few things to look for on Sunday Night Football:
Matt Forte’s extended role in Marc Trestman’s new offense—more dump and run plays?
Ike Taylor vs. Brandon Marshall
Struggling Bears Pass Rush vs. Struggling Steelers O-Line
Bernard’s Quickness Key: The “Law-Firm” BenJarvus Green-Ellis is becoming even more effective now that he has a solid counterpart in the Bengal backfield. Meet Giovanni Bernard: the rookie who could stake his claim to the title “Quickest Back in the League” very soon.
Bernard, a rookie from North Carolina, showed something special during his tenure with the Tarheels. He lit up the score-sheet with his speed and playmaking abilities. It’s hard to say how many touches he’ll get going forward, but after he torched the Steelers defense on Monday, the rest of the league is going to start planning ways to contain Bernard on defense.
Scott Waived: The team announced on Monday that running back Bernard Scott would be waived after being on the “PUP” list.
The former sixth-round pick had a leg injury and was rehabbing, hoping to get back on the field. After the emergence of Gio Bernard however, his time in Cincinnati was cut short.
Assuming his leg heals as doctors hope it will, he should be a hot name on the free agent market.