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Around the AFC North: Bengals to Give Joe Burrow Even More Input

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow runs the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs during during the second half of the NFL AFC Championship playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023 in Kansas City, Mo.
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow runs the ball against the Kansas City Chiefs during during the second half of the NFL AFC Championship playoff football game, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023 in Kansas City, Mo.

Cincinnati Bengals: Joe Burrow to Have More Input Into Game Plans Entering Year Four

The Bengals plan to rely on Joe Burrow's acumen even more next season.

Entering his fourth season as one of the NFL's top quarterbacks, Burrow has consistently displayed his ability to diagnose defenses and anticipate blitzes. Offensive Coordinator Brian Callahan says the Bengals will increase Burrow's input into their weekly game planning next season.

"Now we've reached the point going into (Burrow's) year four where, schematically, he's got a lot of input, too. That's a lot of fun," Callahan said via Geoff Hobson of the team’s website. "There are more peer conversations as opposed to us trying to tell him what to do. That's when it starts to get really fun. The quarterback has great input to make big adjustments and give his thoughts and feelings about plays and what position to put players in. It's a really dynamic environment to go to work in every day."

The Bengals hope to ink Burrow to a long-term extension this offseason after he led them to a second straight division title with a career-high 35 touchdown passes. After the Bengals fell short of reaching their second straight Super Bowl, losing to the Chiefs in the AFC Championship game, Callahan said Burrow was hungrier than ever.

"He loves football," Callahan said. "He loves practicing, he loves meetings, he's fun to be around. Great personality. He loves working.

"You lose these games, it gives you a different perspective. You have a better feel for what it might take every year and sometimes you have to reinvent yourself and you have to reinvent how you do things and play. I thought Joe reinvented himself this year really well compared to how he played the year before. There'll be another evolution of his game going into year four and it will be fun to watch."

Cleveland Browns: Special Teams Coach Mike Priefer Relieved of His Duties

Head Coach Kevin Stefanski released a statement Tuesday after deciding to part ways with Special Teams Coach Mike Priefer. The Browns' special teams ranked 18th overall in NFL writer Rich Gosselin's annual rankings and finished last in punt coverage, allowing 12.3 yards per return.

"I appreciate everything Prief has done for this team in his three seasons as my special teams coordinator, but I have decided to move in another direction in the best interest of our organization," Stefanski said. "I know this city will forever be grateful for the job he did as acting head coach in our AFC Wildcard win and for all his contributions while leading the Browns special teams units for the last four seasons. We wish Prief the best with his next opportunity."

The Browns have requested permission to interview Colts Special Teams Coordinator Bubba Ventrone to replace Priefer, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Priefer is the second Browns coordinator to be let go this offseason. Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods was fired after the season and replaced by Jim Schwartz.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Improving Red Zone Offense Is Major Goal

After ranking 21st in red zone efficiency in 2022, the Steelers are putting major focus on improving in that area. Two of Pittsburgh's main weapons were rookies – quarterback Kenny Pickett and wide receiver George Pickens. Both gained valuable experience and Offensive Coordinator Matt Canada believes the Steelers will do a better job of finishing drives with touchdowns.

"That's kind of the final frontier," Canada said via Brooke Pryor of "We get into that area, we've got to go score points. It's got to happen. We can talk about it, rep it, we're certainly doing those things. Being young is not an excuse. None of that. We've got to produce those, things have to happen, but I think we're getting closer. We're making more of them, but we just have got to get them all."

Despite going 9-8, the Steelers only reached 30 points in one game last season and scored just 29 touchdowns in 17 games, tied for second fewest in the league.

"We didn't score enough points is the bottom line," Steelers President Art Rooney II said. "In particular, not great red-zone efficiency. So, I think those are a couple things that I would identify that we clearly have to get better at."

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