Happy Labor Day everyone. Feel free to check back with the AFC North blog today in between hot dogs because we'll have new content up throughout the day. By this time next week, the Browns and Steelers will have played their first games and we'll be gearing up for Bengals-Ravens on "Monday Night Football." So, are you ready for some wake-up call?
BENGALS: Former Bengals receiver-turned-television analyst Cris Collinsworth was "stunned" by Cincinnati making the playoffs last season. But his expectations haven't gone down for the Bengals. "They have good young talent. … I certainly think they’re a team that is going to compete," Collinsworth told the Cincinnati Enquirer. I think they’ll be like a lot of other teams that are hanging right around that .500 mark, and win or lose a couple of close games, and that decides it. But the future looks a little brighter than it has in awhile for Cincinnati.”
BROWNS: It sounds as if the Browns are moving on with Colt McCoy as their backup quarterback. "I think we are pretty set there," Heckert said of Cleveland's quarterback situation, via The Plain Dealer. "You never say never, but right now we're pretty happy with that situation." There had been rumblings that the Browns were interested in trading for Rams quarterback A.J. Feeley, who has ties with Heckert, coach Pat Shurmur and offensive coordinator Brad Childress. "A.J. is one of my good friends, but I haven't talked to A.J. in months," Heckert said.
RAVENS: Baltimore signed former Steelers quarterback Dennis Dixon to round out its practice squad, The Baltimore Sun reported. Dixon, 27, tried out for the Ravens in April, but the team decided to go with Curtis Painter, who was released Friday. With Joe Flacco and Tyrod Taylor on the 53-man roster, Dixon provides insurance as the third quarterback. He hasn't been on an NFL roster since the end of last season with Pittsburgh, which looks like a red flag. Dixon was reportedly considering an offer to join the UFL's Sacramento Mountain Lions last month.
STEELERS: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette feels Jonathan Dwyer is making a push to be the Steelers' starting running back. "He toted the load tonight," coach Mike Tomlin said. "He was the primary ballcarrier, and that's kind of what we wanted to see. It's really a snapshot of his growth and development throughout this training camp and preseason. First things first, he showed up in good physical condition, that's a prerequisite. He kind of took off from there ... it needs to continue. He's capable of it continuing." I still see Isaac Redman getting the start at Denver. But Dwyer's solid performance in the preseason should have earned him more carries going forward.