Around the AFC North (1/11/12): Jay Gruden Staying, Mike Zimmer Leaving?

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 1: Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer argues with head linesman Kent Payne #79 during an NFL preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts at Paul Brown Stadium on September 1, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Colts won 17-13. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

In today's edition of Around the AFC North, we take a look at Jay Gruden's and Mike Zimmer's status with the Cincinnati Bengals, whether Hines Ward would take a pay cut to stay with Pittsburgh, and whether the Ravnes can stop the Texans' running game.

Cincinnati Bengals: Jay Gruden to Stay, Mike Zimmer to Leave?

It sounds like Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden was a hot commodity for head coaching positions. Reports indicate that the Jaguars and Rams wanted to interview him for their head coaching vacancies, but he was content in staying in Cincinnati for 2012. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Gruden "said he has unfinished business and likes the direction of the offense." Gruden could be another hot candidate in 2013 if the Bengals' offense builds off of what they accomplished this past season.

There is a different story when it comes to Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. The Buccaneers and Dolphins are interested in Zimmer, who already interviewed with the Dolphins. Per reports, Zimmer is at the top of Miami's list, so he could very well be their next head coach.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Hines Ward Would Take a Pay Cut

This builds off of a story we posted the other day in which Hines Ward stated that he did not plan on retiring. He does, however, understand that he'll likely need to take a pay cut.

"I'd probably have to restructure my contract," Ward said of the pay cut. "That's fine with me. I recognize that. I'm telling you I want to be here, I'm telling you I'm willing to do that. And I understand the ramifications -- we have the cap number and stuff, but I want to be here."

"Obviously, I was a starter, and then it went the way it did. That's fine, I don't have a problem with not starting. But I want to play, I want to try to win another Super Bowl. I want to do it for this organization. I want to help this team out. I still think I can help this team, on the field, off the field with the younger guys, still be there for the team. I'm willing to do all that."

Baltimore Ravens: Defending the Texans' Running Game

Will Baltimore's defense be able to stop Arian Foster and Ben Tate?

The success of the Houston run game depends on the success of T.J. Yates getting the ball to his receivers consistently enough to keep Pollard from playing in the box. This is where the injury to Owen Daniels may really hurt the Texans. Pain won't be the issue in that hand as there are drugs for that, but will it be reliable enough to catch the ball? We'll see.

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