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Around the AFC North: Justin Fields Isn't Conceding Steelers' Starting Job to Russell Wilson

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Justin Fields throws a pass during the team's NFL OTA's football practice in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, May 21, 2024.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Justin Fields throws a pass during the team's NFL OTA's football practice in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, May 21, 2024.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Justin Fields 'Definitely Pushing' Russell Wilson in Quarterback Competition

Russell Wilson is the presumed new starting quarterback in Pittsburgh, but Justin Fields says he's going to push Wilson for the job.

Wilson and Fields are participating in their first OTAs with the Steelers after Pittsburgh traded for both quarterbacks this offseason. As a veteran Super Bowl–winning quarterback, Wilson is the frontrunner to begin Week 1 as the starter.

However, Fields is still only 25 years old and spent the past three seasons as the Bears' starting quarterback. He thinks the competition with Wilson will make both quarterbacks better.

"I'm definitely competing," Fields said via Brooke Pryor of "I think [Wilson] knows that we're competing against each other every day. Him being out there for me, that helps me.

"I definitely don't have the mindset of me just sitting all year. I'm coming in every day giving it all I got and pushing him to be his best, and he's pushing me to be my best each and every day."

Wilson also has something to prove after being benched in Denver last season. The nine-time Pro Bowler believes a change in scenery will help him return to top form.

"I wouldn't say I'm scalded," Wilson said. "I would say that if anything, I've just learned a lot and I think that internally you get better, you get tougher. You use your experiences, use the challenges that you've gone through to be the best version of you. And so I don't blink, and I'm looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity."

Cleveland Browns: Defense Focused on Red Zone Improvement

The Browns surrendered the fewest yards (270.2 per game) in the NFL last season, but their red zone defense left plenty to be desired. Cleveland had the worst red-zone defense in the NFL, allowing 71% of red-zone drives to result in a touchdown.

Improving the red zone defense has been a point of emphasis during OTAs, and the Browns believe it's the last piece to becoming a great defense.

"If we can make guys settle for three points instead of getting seven, we save four points… that's a big difference," cornerback Martin Emerson Jr. said via Daniel Oyefusi of "That's my goal for this defense."

Losing 45-14 to the Texans on Wild Card Weekend was not the way Cleveland planned to end its 2023 season. Making the playoffs was an achievement, but the postseason defeat has kept the defense humble.

"My biggest takeaway from that was we chased plays in that game, instead of letting the plays come to us and making the plays that were there," Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz said. "We paid a very dear price for that and we can't do anything about it now, but hopefully we can learn from it and the next time we're in that situation we can play better as a result."

Cincinnati Bengals: Zack Moss Looks Forward to Joining New-Look Backfield

Joe Mixon spent seven seasons with the Bengals and carried the ball at least 210 times in five of those campaigns.

But after trading Mixon to Houston in March, the Bengals will have a new look to their running back rotation. Cincinnati signed Zack Moss in free agency from the Colts and will give second-year speedster Chase Brown a bigger role.

Moss is coming off his best season (794 yards rushing, five touchdowns, 27 catches, and two touchdowns) with the Colts in 2023 and is relishing a fresh opportunity in Cincinnati. He knows how productive Mixon was for the Bengals but looks forward to the challenge of replacing him.

"I've never been in a position where you come in after a guy who's had so much success and means so much to the fanbase," Moss said via Laurel Pfahler of the Dayton Daily News. "I mean, I remember watching Joe, just throughout the league, college and stuff like that.

"I think it is big shoes to fill in that sense of things. But like I said, my job is not to worry about the past and things like that, it's to go out there and do my job at a high level, and whatever my job looks like, that's what I'm trying to do and be as consistent as I can be."

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