Bengals: Dalton Excited About New Offense Zac Taylor Brings to Cincinnati
The Cincinnati Bengals have been overshadowed in the AFC North this offseason, but quarterback Andy Dalton hopes to change that once the season begins.
Dalton is playing for a coach other than Marvin Lewis for the first time. New Bengals Head Coach Zac Taylor is installing his offense, one that is similar to the Los Angeles Rams offense where Taylor was quarterbacks coach under Sean McVay.
This is a huge season for Dalton, learning a new offense after eight seasons under Lewis, who coached the Bengals for 16 seasons. Dalton is confident the Bengals will be explosive, with weapons like wide receivers A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd, and running backs Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard.
Dalton has two years remaining on his contract but says he doesn't feel extra pressure to impress his new coach.
"I don't feel like there's any pressure," Dalton told Albert Breer of SI.com. "I expect to play well. I expect the team to do well. I don't think a ton of people are giving us much of a chance in our division. But we're confident in our building. Everyone has high expectations."
The Bengals have missed the playoffs the past three seasons. But what Dalton has seen from Taylor's offense makes him believe the Bengals will be a difficult team to defend. Dalton says the Bengals offense may resemble the Rams in some ways, but it will be tailored to the Bengals' personnel.
"The system is built around our players, our guys," Dalton said. "This system and the way we're going to be playing fits me really well, fits our guys, and we expect to score a lot of points."
Browns: High Anticipation for Odell Beckham Jr's Arrival at Minicamp
The Browns' mandatory minicamp begins Tuesday, and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will be in the building – finally. After the Browns made the blockbuster trade to acquire Beckham this offseason, he has missed all but one of the nine voluntary practices. First-year Browns Head Coach Freddie Kitchens has become more antsy the longer Beckham has been absent.
Kitchens said Beckham has missed "a lot" as the offense has been installed.
"I just want to see him," Kitchens said. [add to this quote]
The Browns want Beckham to be as familiar as possible with the Browns' offense, while he builds chemistry with quarterback Baker Mayfield. The Browns have been a trendy pick to win the AFC North, there will be plenty of pressure on Kitchens, Mayfield, and Beckham. However, Browns Receivers Coach Adam Henry coached Beckham with the New York Giants and feels he will ready to roll at minicamp.
"He's always in condition," Henry said of Beckham. "You have to save him from himself when he's practicing because he'll go, and go, and go. If there's a ball being thrown or kicked, he wants it."
Steelers: Wide Receivers Take Antonio Brown's Departure as Challenge
There has been healthy competition among Pittsburgh's wide receivers during OTAs in the aftermath of Antonio Brown being traded to the Oakland Raiders. Brown has produced at least 1,200 yards receiving in each of the last six seasons, so replacing him won't be easy, even with JuJu Smith-Schuster coming off his best season (111 catches, 1,426 yards, seven touchdowns). However, Steelers receivers say they are accepting the challenge collectively.
"Everybody's pushing each other, you got a drop, you've got 10 pushups," Steelers wide receiver Donte' Moncrief said via ESPN.com. "Make plays, don't come out here lagging. Everyone's ready to play. Everybody knows JuJu is going to get a lot of attention. We have to be able to help him out, take some double-teams away and beat man so the defense has to over everybody."
The Steelers may counter Brown's absence by throwing even more to tight end Vance McDonald, who had a career-high 50 receptions last season.
"I think Ben (Roethlisberger) is the best quarterback that will allow us to take that piece that A.B. is giving in each game and allowing it to go through different avenues," McDonald said.