Teams are now about a week into their respective 2017 training camps. Pads have been donned, live tackling has taken place, roster moves have begun being made and, unfortunately, injuries have already started to mount. Though we at Dawgs By Nature have every angle of the Cleveland Browns’ training camp covered, it’s also important to know the developments around the AFC North. Here is the latest roundup of news and rumors coming out of the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Baltimore Ravens: With starting Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco currently being held out from training camp with a back injury, finding a suitable backup—one with more promise in-game than current No. 2 Ryan Mallett—has been a major area of discussion. And one quarterback in particular keeps being linked to the team—Colin Kaepernick, free agent and unfortunately, a lightning rod for controversy despite having done nothing illegal. Baltimore Beatdown’s Logan Levy has compiled the latest in the Ravens-Kaepernick will-they-or-won’t-they saga, including a statement released by Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome on Wednesday.
Also: While Flacco’s back issues may be improving, writes Kyle J. Anderson, the number of injured or dinged-up Ravens continues to grow. According to Levy, Thursday’s practice saw 19 players not participating; though nine were for veterans given a day of rest, 10 others were sidelined with injuries.
Cincinnati Bengals: TheManch at Cincy Jungle has broken down the five biggest surprises of the first half of the Bengals’ training camp. Included in the list is an update on who is getting first-team right guard work and the impressive summer thus far being put forth by 2017 Round 2 draft pick, running back Joe Mixon. The brakes may need to be pumped a bit on Mixon for a day or two; just hours after Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson predicted Mixon will get 15-20 carries per game, the rookie suffered some type of lower-body injury during practice and was spotted with ice on his ankle.
Joe Mixon appeared to tweak something early in practice. Sat out a while now sitting on cart on side with ice on ankle area.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) August 3, 2017
UPDATE: According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Mixon suffered a cut on his heel and it is not considered a serious injury. He took a handful of plays off before returning to the field, doubtlessly prompting a collective sign of relief for the Bengals’ faithful:
Mixon tweaked his left foot/ankle on a carry in a drill. He did come back a few plays later and ran a route.— James Rapien (@JamesRapien) August 3, 2017
Also: Jason Marcum reports that veteran defensive end Michael Johnson suited up for the first time at Bengals’ training camp this summer after missing four practices with an undisclosed injury. Rookie Carl Lawson, though, may not see his camp snaps decrease after all, with Patrick Judis reporting that P.J. Dawson is currently in a sling and a cast, allowing Lawson to continue to move from defensive end to linebacker and back again even with Johnson’s return.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Behind the Steel Curtain’s Mike Frazer writes that the Steelers made the right move by drafting cornerback Artie Burns in Round 1 a year ago. Burns is set to be a major piece of the Steelers’ shift to more man-to-man coverage in the secondary and is preparing to do so by being matched up one-on-one with Pittsburgh’s top receiver, Antonio Brown, throughout training camp.
Also: Kelly Anozie has an update on two of the Steelers’ most notable injuries in training camp so far—a shoulder injury suffered by rookie running back James Conner and a hamstring ailment suffered by cornerback Senquez Golson. The news, as it often is this time of year, is mixed.