What We Learned from This Week in AFC North Media Coverage
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This week, the AFC North media coverage was by and large heavy on the Cleveland Browns. For a franchise that often becomes an afterthought to the national media once the season is well underway, this was a nice change of pace.
The main topic of Browns discussion this week centered around the draft—namely, if the Browns take Trent Richardson, Justin Blackmon, Morris Claiborne or Ryan Tannehill with their No. 4 overall pick, and whether they could instead trade down and switch picks with the St. Louis Rams, who select sixth overall.
Bleacher Report's Mike Hoag, Jr., took this one step further and wondered if the Browns would consider trading up to No. 3 (where the Minnesota Vikings currently sit) to nab Tannehill.
On Tuesday, it seemed like the discussion about Tannehill could drop off, considering that Browns team president Mike Holmgren, general manager Tom Heckert, and head coach Pat Shurmur all seemed committed to keeping Colt McCoy as their starter.
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Wednesday brought the news that the Browns may consider trading down with the Rams, once again stoking the Tannehill fires, as well as speculation that the team is targeting wide receiver Blackmon and not the running back Richardson. Or maybe Brock Osweiler is the quarterback the Browns should consider drafting in a later round instead.
Rounding out the week was ESPN Cleveland's Tony Grossi's report about the Browns' attendance at the pro days of both Tannehill and Richardson this week, and how management's comments seem to indicate that Richardson is the Browns' most likely choice. Yes, quite the drama indeed.
Elsewhere around the division, former Baltimore Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth (who may retire from the game) was elected president of the NFLPA. On the other side of the ball, Ravens receiver Torrey Smith is hoping to have well over 1,000 yards in the 2012 season.
To get those 1,000-plus yards, the Ravens will need to make improvements on the offensive line; the Carroll County Times' Aaron Wilson says the team plans to do just that. Special teams is also a concern for the Ravens this year, says Bleacher Report's Shawn Brubaker.
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It was a quiet week for the Cincinnati Bengals. They added a free-agent defensive end last weekend, and re-signed one of their own free agents, defensive tackle Pat Sims. They're reportedly still trying to land free-agent corner Terence Newman, most recently of the Dallas Cowboys. Otherwise, head coach Marvin Lewis is "jacked" about the team's offseason thus far.
Turning to the Pittsburgh Steelers, it looks like running back Rashard Mendenhall might be able to play in 2012, though he won't be ready to start the season. No matter who carries the rock for the Steelers this year, it will be Todd Haley calling the plays on offense. It was a controversial move, but one that head coach Mike Tomlin has taken full responsibility for.
With Haley as offensive coordinator, there will be some changes to the Steelers' approach this year. However, Bleacher Report's Aaron Nagler argues the best thing they could do is build their offense around quarterback Ben Roethlisberger rather than asking him to evolve to Haley's vision.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette detailed some of those changes this week, while the Tribune-Review's Scott Brown talks about what it will take for the Steelers to retain three major pieces of that offense—wide receivers Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders—for 2012 and beyond.
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