Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
If it looked like the Ravens' hurry-up offense was running in slow motion, there's apparently a reason for it -- quarterback Joe Flacco isn't calling his own plays.
As Baltimore was attempting to mount a fourth-quarter comeback at Jacksonville, Flacco repeatedly looked over to the sideline. It appeared as if he was waiting for offensive coordinator Cam Cameron to make the play call.
Flacco was asked if the offense would run faster with the quarterback calling the plays in the two-minute drill.
"I guess there is probably truth to that," Flacco told reporters Wednesday, via The Baltimore Sun. "It's just how quickly can I think on my feet and get the play out there. I guess there is truth to that. It's just a matter of how we want to do it."
Hensley's slant: Not to sound like Terrell Suggs, but it just "baffles" me that Flacco isn't calling his own plays. He has started 54 games in the NFL. There's two explanations for it: either the Ravens don't trust Flacco or Cameron doesn't want to relinquish control. Whatever the reason, the Ravens are wasting precious seconds under the current system.
BENGALS: Middle linebacker Rey Maualuga is wearing a protective boot after having the cast removed from his left foot. While he doesn't expect to play Sunday at Seattle, his goal is to be ready to play against Tennessee on Nov. 6. “I guess the way I’m approaching it is the doctors can’t tell you when you’re coming back,” Maualuga told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “Your body knows the length of time when you’ll return." Hensley's slant: It's getting little dicey at middle linebacker with Maualuga out and his replacement, Dan Skuta, limited with a groin injury. Still, it will be tough to run against the Bengals because of that underrated defensive front. Even if Marshawn Lynch returns for Seattle, it could tough day against the NFL's fifth-ranked run defense.
BROWNS: New special teams coordinator Chris Tabor took responsibility for the breakdowns the past two weeks, according to the Akron Beacon Journal. Last Sunday against Seattle, the Browns had two field goals blocked and allowed a punt return for a touchdown (which was taken away by a penalty). At Oakland, Cleveland gave up touchdowns on a kickoff return and a fake field goal. “Even in Chicago, we were coming off back-to-back ranked No. 1s and then we went through a little overhaul of some players and didn’t play real well at the beginning,” said Tabor, who spent the past three years as the Bears’ assistant special teams coach. Hensley's slant: There's too many mistakes being made to simply chalk this up to growing pains. Special teams lost the game at Oakland, and nearly cost the Browns against Seattle. Cleveland doesn't have the firepower on offense to overcome these types of breakdowns on special teams. It doesn't get any easier this week when the Browns face their old special teams coach, Brad Seely, who is now with the 49ers.
STEELERS: Outside linebacker James Harrison said he could have been blinded on Oct. 2, when Houston's Duane Brown slammed into his helmet. Harrison suffered a fractured right orbital bone. "I had double vision when it first happened," Harrison told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "There was a possibility that I could've lost my sight, but I got lucky, I guess." He is expected to miss a few more weeks. Hensley's slant: It's amazing how the Steelers have increased their pressure on quarterbacks without Harrison. In three games without him, Pittsburgh has registered 12 sacks. The Steelers will need to continue that streak Sunday against Tom Brady.