- Jamison Hensley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
Colt McCoy has gone 6-15 as the Browns quarterback and watched the team draft a quarterback in the first round after his first full season as Cleveland's starter.
This isn't exactly how McCoy envisioned the start of his NFL career.
"It's been a rough ride thus far," McCoy told the Abilene Reporter-News after his football camp ended. "We've had our ups and downs. I've had three (offensive) coordinators going into my third year. Two head coaches in two years. There's been some ups and downs and things you have to fight through."
McCoy added, "Most are things out of your control. But for me, I would just like a little consistency. I love the town. I love the fans. I think they truly deserve a winning football team. That's what I want to do. I want to be there for the ride of turning that thing around. We'll see what happens."
McCoy, though, doesn't sound like he wants to go elsewhere.
"I really like Cleveland," McCoy said. "I've always been a guy that wants to finish what he starts."
Hensley's slant: It's unlikely that the Browns will keep both McCoy and Seneca Wallace heading into the regular season. Many observers still believe McCoy will get traded. I feel that the Browns should keep McCoy as the backup. McCoy is cheaper than Wallace -- about $1.8 million cheaper -- and it makes no sense to get rid of McCoy after investing a full season in him last year.
BENGALS: NFL Network analyst Jamie Dukes doesn't believe the Bengals will take a step back from last season. "I think it's more of the same," Dukes said. "I could see them being a 9-7, maybe 10-6 team. They play great defense and [quarterback Andy] Dalton has some nice pieces to work with." Hensley's slant: This is a better Bengals team than the one that lost to the Houston Texans in the playoffs last season. The next step for Cincinnati is to beat the better teams in the NFL. Last season, the Bengals were 0-7 against teams that made the postseason.
RAVENS: Bernard Pierce, Anthony Allen and Damien Berry are all competing to be the backup to running back Ray Rice. None of the backs have separated from the pack, according to the Carroll County (Md.) Times. "The one thing is you can see why we drafted him,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said of Pierce. “I can’t wait until the pads come on. I think that becomes the true test for any young player, but he is physical, smart and fast." Hensley's slant: The Ravens' backfield has taken a hit this offseason with Rice skipping workouts because of the franchise tag and Ricky Williams abruptly announcing his retirement earlier this year. The favorite to be the primary backup has to be Pierce. The Ravens invested a third-round pick in him for a reason.
STEELERS: In their offseason breakdown of the Steelers, Sports Illustrated believes the three biggest questions facing the team are: the leadership void, Isaac Redman at running back and the impact of the rookie class. Here's the projected outlook: "There remains enough talent here for the Steelers to make a run. Barring a complete collapse, they should be in the mix for a playoff berth, and their potentially explosive offense and playmaking defense will keep them a threat if they get to the postseason. If there was a year when Pittsburgh might take a step back, though, it would be this one." Hensley's slant: My standard line with the Steelers remains the same: As long as Ben Roethlisberger is healthy and Pittsburgh has a top-five defense, the Steelers will be considered a Super Bowl contender. The biggest problem last season was Roethlisberger's injuries: sprained left foot, fractured right thumb and a high ankle sprain.
Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:Colt McCoy has gone 6-15 as the Browns quarterback and watched the team draft a quarterback in the first round after his first full season as Cleveland's starter.