With the clock to the start of NFL training camps, BaltimoreRavens.com scoured the Internet to collect some of the hot storylines surrounding the other teams around the AFC North.
Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com thinks Cincinnati’s passing attack will be dangerous with Chad Ochocinco, Laveranues Coles, Chris Henry and Andre Caldwell catching passes from talented quarterback Carson Palmer. But he stops short when a fan asks if the quartet could all catch at least 40 passes in 2009.
"The only time in Bengals history four wide receivers caught 40 balls they won just two games. In 2002 Chad Johnson led them with 69 catches while Peter Warrick had 53, Ron Dugans 47, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh 41."
Fans can keep a close eye on the Bengals as they prepare for the upcoming season simply by watching TV. HBO’s “Hard Knocks” is slated to film the team during training camp in Georgetown, Ky.
"People were surprised why we chose the Bengals," serried director Steve Trout said in a recent interview, "Because we were with the Cowboys last year, and they're a big market team. But we realize the story lines are more important, and the Bengals were one of our top choices."
The best training camp battle for the show, according to Hobson, is going to be running back. With Cedric Benson locked in as the starter, Cincinnati doesn’t have a clear-cut backup.
"Which two guys are going to back up Cedric Benson? The position has an NFL melting pot of candidates straight out of central casting that only Hard Knocks could love."**
Under new head coach Eric Mangini and defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, the Browns are committing even more to a 3-4 defense and the “46” that Ryan's father, Buddy, ran as coordinator of the Chicago Bears in the 1980s. Tony Grossi of the Cleveland Plain Dealer discusses the impact such a scheme could have on the Browns.
Meanwhile, there are major questions on offense. Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson will be in a tight battle during training camp for the starting quarterback position. Quinn told Todd D. Burlage of BlueandGold.com about developing into a good quarterback.
"Honestly, I think a lot of things to becoming a good leader start with off-the-field issues," Quinn said. "It starts with leading guys to make sure you are making the right decisions off the field, whether it's in the classroom or just working out. Leading guys through workouts, just being the first one there, the hardest worker of the group."
Just who Anderson or Quinn will be throwing to also remains to be seen. Braylon Edwards is coming off a poor season, but has committed to rebounding. And there are two promising rookies in Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi that could push for big minutes.
"That the Browns drafted both Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi in Round Two is a sign they think both can play, and play the right away."
James Walker, the AFC North blogger for ESPN.com, writes that the defending Super Bowl champions don’t have many holes, but the offensive line could be a major weakness. For a team that likes to run the football, solid offensive line play is critical.
"This is a legitimate concern and one of the few for the Steelers, Eric. If there is one glaring weakness for Pittsburgh right now, it's the offensive line. Poor play there impacts everything."
Also, Walker polled multiple players around the division about a varied list of questions. Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger was voted as the AFC North's top quarterback, while Steelers linebacker James Harrison got the nod over Ray Lewis by two votes as the toughest player.
Don Banks of SI.com asks if the Steelers can avoid another Super Bowl hangover. After winning the Vince Lombardi trophy in Super Bowl XL, Pittsburgh failed to make the playoffs the following year.
And finally, the Steelers took home two ESPY Awards at this week’s ESPN-centric ceremony. Santonio Holmes won "Best Play" for his tiptoe touchdown catch that won the Super Bowl, and the entire team won "Best Game" along with the Arizona Cardinals.