Around the AFC North: Browns Reportedly Fire Head Coach and Offensive Coordinator


Browns: Head Coach Hue Jackson, Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley Reportedly Fired

The Browns made the division's big headlines Monday, reportedly firing head coach Hue Jackson and Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley.

Ironically, the Browns (2-5-1) have won more games this year than they did during either of Jackson's first two seasons. Their last victory was a 12-9 overtime decision against the Ravens in Week 5. Jackson had a 3-36-1 record over his 2 1/2 years.

There were multiple reports of contention between Jackson and Haley. There's no immediate word on who will take over for the Browns as interim coach and who will oversee the offense and development of top-overall pick Baker Mayfield.

Jackson is a former quarterbacks coach with the Ravens (2008-09) and former head coach of the Oakland Raiders. The Browns are on a three-game losing streak following Sunday's 33-18 loss to the Steelers, and Cleveland hosts the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

Steelers: Will Star Running Back Le'Veon Bell Return This Week?

Speculation continues about the possible return of running back Le'Veon Bell, who has been a holdout all season. The next date that makes sense is this week before the Steelers travel to Baltimore.

The trade deadline is Tuesday and Bell could report once the deadline passes. He can't be traded until he signs his franchise tag contract. Once the deadline passes and takes away Pittsburgh's option to trade him this season, Bell could sign the franchise tag deal and report to the Steelers late Tuesday or Wednesday.

Bell must report by Nov. 11 to be eligible to play this season, so the most likely scenario is that he will report sometime between this week and Nov. 11.

Even if Bell returns this week, he might not be ready to play Sunday against the Ravens. But he would eventually add another dynamic offensive weapon to a team that is building momentum. The Steelers (4-2-1) have won three straight and lead the AFC North ahead of the Bengals (5-3), Ravens (4-4) and Browns (2-5-1).

Bell's replacement, James Conner, has topped 100 rushing yards in three straight games since being held to 19 in Week 4 against the Ravens. Bell topped 200 total yards and scored two touchdowns Sunday against the Browns. Thus, there are questions in Pittsburgh about the division of labor when/if Bell returns.

Bengals: Defense Looks Shaky, But They Win Another Close Game

The Bengals have a bye this week and it comes at a great time for their defense, which is now ranked last in the league, allowing 447.8 yards per game.

Despite giving up 576 yards in total offense, the Bengals squeaked past Tampa Bay, 37-34, on Sunday. The week before, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw four touchdown passes during a runaway 45-10 victory over the Bengals. The Bucs and Chiefs are two of the top offenses in the league, but it's still a lot of yards and points given up.

Winning close games has kept Cincinnati ahead of Baltimore. The Bengals edged Atlanta by one point in Week 4, then on Sunday, the Bengals won despite blowing a 27-6 lead in the second quarter. Bengals kicker Randy Bullock made a 44-yard field goal as time expired for the game-winner.

Cincinnati can enjoy the bye week, watching the Ravens and Steelers slug it out on Sunday.

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