Around the AFC North: Is Ben Roethlisberger Tipping-Off Opponents?

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QB Ben Roethlisberger

Pittsburgh Steelers: Does Ben Roethlisberger Have a Tell?

The Steelers offense was one of the best in the league during its 11-0 start to last season. Its struggles down the stretch, however, led to a 1-5 record finish and early playoff exit.

So what changed? Pittsburgh media is buzzing about the possibility that veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had a tell last season.

This apparently has been talked about for a while in Pittsburgh, but it picked up steam Friday when a TikTok user posted a video looking at Roethlisberger's feet. The premise is that when Roethlisberger hands the ball off, he's flat-footed. When he's going to pass, he raises his left heel just before the snap.

SteelersDepot.com studied the full season and found that the tip checks out 95 percent of the time on shotgun run plays and 90 percent of shotgun passes.

"Yes, this is a tell from Roethlisberger," wrote Steelers Depot's Alex Kozora. "To say otherwise is to ignore the tape and the data. But this is something that's been happening for seemingly his entire career."

The Pittsburgh Tribune's Tim Benz wondered whether Roethlisberger's footwork was "part of what Washington's defensive players were talking about when they claimed 'Baltimore exposed some things' during the Steelers' last win of their 11-0 start in 2020?"

If Roethlisberger has been doing it his entire career, then that wouldn't seem to be the case.

"It's probably something Roethlisberger should note, but I think it's less about the foot lift and more about how he is standing in a more rigid, upright posture on the run plays, when he knows he's not going to throw," Benz wrote.

"It's fair to say Roethlisberger should do a better job of disguising things in 2021, and you know we'll be watching," Korora wrote. "But we should all be as unlucky as he's been to have this 'tell.' It's not the big deal some people think it is and I imagine that's why the Steelers haven't made an effort to fix it."

Speaking of tells, here's Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick talking about how they had one of former Ravens tackle Orlando Brown Sr.

Cleveland Browns: Are the Browns Getting Over-Hyped Again?

A couple years ago, the Browns were the sexy Super Bowl pick with Baker Mayfield in his first year as the full-time starter. They ended up winning six games.

Cleveland broke its 17-year playoff drought last year and now the hype train is chugging once again. Are the Browns getting too much love this offseason?

"Are the 2021 Browns the best on paper in the AFC? They have to find a way to defeat Baltimore – lost twice last season. Kansas City still is the best team in the AFC if Patrick Mahomes stays healthy," Pluto wrote.

"That said, the Browns are really ... Really ... REALLY ... good! It would not be shocking if they indeed won the AFC. But I don't see them as the favorite. What I like is they should be really good for the next few years with this front office/coaching staff/roster combination."

Cincinnati Bengals: Cincinnati Ranked as Worst Travel Destination

The Bengals are expected to be better this year with quarterback Joe Burrow and a horde of talented skill players around him.

But one area where Cincinnati still ranks at the bottom of the list is as a destination for NFL fans, according to the Boston Globe's veteran writer Ben Volin. Volin ranked Cincinnati dead last among NFL cities to travel to.

"The ribs at Montgomery Inn are great," Volin wrote. "And you can stay across the river in Covington to cross Kentucky off your list of states visited. But there's not much going on in downtown Cincinnati, the stadium has no tailgating space, and Bengals games are rarely exciting."

Ravens fans haven't taken issue with visiting, however. The Ravens Flock has had a strong showing at Paul Brown Stadium in recent years, particularly Lamar Jackson fans making the trip from Kentucky to see their former Louisville Heisman Trophy winner. Jackson has given them quite a show.

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