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– Patrick Queen, Art Rooney II, Bengals, Ravens and Steelers Featured in AFC Notes

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Bengals

Former Bengals OC Brian Callahan shared about how the Bengals put backup QB Jake Browning in a position to be successful. Expectations for Browning were at the bottom of the barrel, but he kept Cincinnati in the mix for a postseason spot and likely helped Callahan land the Titans head coaching job.

“Truthfully, those are the moments where even though we didn’t end up making the playoffs, that to me was really rewarding coaching,” he said via NBC Sports’ Peter King. “A ton of credit goes to Jake, who’d been in that quarterback room for two years, for being very transparent and communicating really well that this is something that I don’t like, or this is what I like. That takes a lot of balls from young quarterbacks in the NFL to say. He said, ‘I need to have more pure progression where I can just go 1-2-3, and get the ball out of my hand.’ Going into that Jacksonville Monday night game, we gave him everything he asked for, and now he could just go out and play fast. That’s what happened. He played lights out. Great example of a quarterback believing the coaches are doing everything we can do to help him win. That’s important.”

Ravens

Ravens LB Patrick Queen said he definitely wants to return to Baltimore but said both sides will ultimately do what’s best for themselves.

Of course. This is where I started,” Queen said, via PFT. “Definitely would be nice to come back, but, at the same time, I gotta do what’s best for me, best for my family. And then they gotta do what’s best for them on the other side as well.

Steelers

Steelers owner Art Rooney II said the team is motivated to get past their playoff win drought and said he fully supports HC Mike Tomlin and his ability to get them back to where they want to go.

We’ve had enough of this,” Rooney said, via ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. “It’s time to get some wins; it’s time to take these next steps. The players still respond to Mike, and that’s No. 1,” Rooney added. “He still has the key characteristics that we saw when we hired him. He can keep the attention of a group of 20-year-olds for a whole season and keep them in the fight for the whole way. So, still feel good about Mike. Obviously if I didn’t, [we] would make a change, but if we didn’t think Mike was able to lead us to a championship, he wouldn’t be here, and that’s why he is here.”

Rooney admitted there was a sense of urgency within the building to advance beyond simply making the playoffs.

Certainly, there’s a resolve there and a determination there,” Rooney said of Tomlin. “And I think I said before, I think all of us that have been around for a little while are anxious to take this next step — and getting a little impatient — and we need to see the kind of improvement we all want to see. Mike believes that as firmly as anybody else in the building.

Rooney added that the team still felt good about QB Kenny Pickett but said he did need to take the next step in his development.

We still feel good about Kenny Pickett and his future, but he knows he needs to work hard to take the next step,” Rooney said. “And we’ve talked about that, and one of the things I think we liked about Kenny in terms of his career at Pitt was that, how hard he worked, and he took a step every year. So, we’re looking for that to happen here.

Rooney added that QB Mason Rudolph played admirably and said they would love to bring him back next season as well.

He did show what we’re capable of on offense, and the personnel we have here right now,” Rooney said. “So that’s encouraging. I don’t know that we’ve seen [Rudolph’s] ceiling yet. We drafted him high for a reason and felt like he had a lot of ability, and so I think we saw that. So, he’s probably going to have some options, so it’s going to be a question of whether he wants to come back and whether we can make a deal to get him back. But that being said, I still feel good about Kenny and his ability to develop as well.

  • The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly still expects Pickett to be the starter in 2024, with competition perhaps from Rudolph.
  • Kaboly guesses 49ers passing game coordinator Klint Kubiak is Pittsburgh’s top choice for offensive coordinator, with former Falcons HC Arthur Smith also in the mix.
  • Kaboly thinks Steelers DL Cameron Heyward will be an extension candidate to lower his cap hit if he decides he wants to keep playing.
  • He adds he expects the Steelers to bring in stiff competition for P Pressley Harvin.

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