AFC North Blog
Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta has suffered serious hip injuries in each of the past two seasons. He has been progressing but he is still expected to start the season on the PUP list and be forced to miss the first six games. Orthopedic surgeon and hip specialist Dr. Derek Ochiai made it clear that another similar hip injury would likely end Pitta's career and a re-injury is a possibility. "Unfortunately, there's a reasonable chance it could happen again to Dennis with another fracture-dislocation of the hip," said Ochiai. "It's not a given, but it's definitely possible. It's also possible it's a lightning-struck-twice kind of thing and it doesn't happen again. That's the best-case scenario. Once you have recurrences of an injury, statistically, it's more likely you will continue to have issues going forward. It's football, you're not playing chess. There's a lot of twisting and cutting regardless of actually getting tackled that can put a lot of stress on your hip joint. Unfortunately, Dennis Pitta's hip joint isn't normal. It can't be normal after a fracture-dislocation, but it can be repaired."
The reigning Fantasy Football MVP is facing a three-game suspension this season for marijuana and DUI charges. Bell has been waiting on an appeal hearing for quite some time now and has been left in the dark on the matter. Commissioner Roger Goodell claims to have no knowledge of an appeal and wouldn't have any information on it because it's not his appeal to handle. "That appeal is not heard by me, I would have to get somebody else to get a timeline on that," Goodell said.
Bengals rookie tight end C.J. Uzomah is a raw talent out of Auburn. He impressed at the Senior Bowl and was a somewhat surprising fifth-round pick in this year's draft. Especially since the Bengals have Tyler Eifert and had already drafted Tyler Kroft in the third round. Since rookie minicamp opened we have heard nothing but great things about the athletic young TE. That trend has continued on Twitter from Bengals beat writer Paul Dehner Jr. saying, "Really liked what I saw out of Uzomah. A project, yes. But he fits the mold of what you want athletically."
Browns converted wide receiver Terrelle Pryor has been spending this off period working out and training. He's been training at Randy Moss's football academy this past week with teammate Josh Gordon. Pryor was likely more concerned with learning how to play his new position more than staying in shape. Learning from one of the greatest wideouts of all-time could go a long way to help Pryor develop. It's also important to acknowledge that Gordon is still making an effort to work on his craft and stay in shape.
Rice has not received another opportunity to play in the NFL since being suspended for domestic abuse. Guys like Adrian Peterson and Greg Hardy, who probably have committed worse offenses been given a second chance. However, there are two huge differences, Rice was already considered past his prime and the other incidents weren't caught on film. Rice and his supporters, which include his college coach at Rutgers Greg Schiano, have been calling teams attempting to get him back on an NFL field. One team reportedly "seriously considered" signing him this offseason until ownership refused.
Miami Hurricanes all-time leading rusher Duke Johnson joins an already crowded backfield in Cleveland as a rookie. The Browns already have second-year backs Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West on the roster. Still, Johnson is expected to play a major role in the offense. Not only will he be the home run threat on the ground, he'll also be the primary pass-catcher out of the backfield. The coaching staff plans to line him up all over including at receiver to create mismatches. However, he is not expected to be relied on as the starter, at least not right away.
Browns second-year back Isaiah Crowell is considered the favorite to be the Week 1 starter by the Akron Beacon Journal's Nate Ulrich along with the majority of people close to the team. He has an edge on Terrance West who he split time with last season. West found himself on the coach's bad side at times, while Crowell proved to be a superior short-yardage back. Although, he did have some fumbling issues of his own. Both backs did enough last season to prevent the team from making rookie Duke Johnson the starter right off the bat.
The Ravens have officially placed tight end Dennis Pitta on the active/PUP list. This was always expected and was merely procedural. Pitta is recovering from his second major hip surgery in as many seasons. He fractured and dislocated his hip in each of the past two seasons. He is yet to be medically cleared for any team or contact drills. The hope is he'll be ready to contribute after his now mandatory six-game absence.
Johnny Manziel is the Browns QB2 and has dealt with numerous off-field issues since being drafted in the first round last year. He has had his on-field struggles as well. Johnny Football looked like he had no business on an NFL field last season. To help fix his issues, Manziel has been training with Jon Gruden. Gruden is a QB guru and known film junkie. The guy won a Super Bowl with Brad Johnson when he was the head coach of the Buccaneers. Manziel and Gruden have been doing a lot of film work and working on his mechanics. This is just another small step in the right direction for Manziel, who is expected to report to training camp on Monday.
Jeremy Butler is a second-year wideout for the Ravens. He spent all of last season on I.R. with a shoulder injury, however, he was a standout in camp last season. He once again impressed at OTAs. Butler was reportedly one of the "biggest surprises" and caught everything thrown his way. Starting quarterback Joe Flacco called him "incredible. His WRs coach Bobby Engram described him as "unbelievable". There is a feel around the team that he could emerge as an impact player in a very thin WR corps.