It seems like there is a lot of talking going on in the division. Steelers rookie Alameda Ta'amu is apologizing. Bengals receiver A.J. Green is doing some mild trash-talking. And new Browns CEO Joe Banner is acknowledging publicly that the team has to decide whether quarterback Brandon Weeden is "the man" in Cleveland going forward.
I don't have much to say outside of my travel plans. I will cover the Ravens-Raiders game Sunday before heading to Pittsburgh to watch the Steelers-Chiefs game Monday night. With that out of the way, here's your wake-up call:
RAVENS: The injuries to Haloti Ngata's right shoulder and right knee are affecting the Pro Bowl defensive tackle, who failed to record a tackle last Sunday. That's only the second time this has happened in Ngata's 102-game career. "Now, it's limiting me," Ngata told The Baltimore Sun. "I just can't do what I want to do most of the time." Ngata plans to play with the injuries, saying taking a week off wouldn't allow him to get back to full strength. He has yet to practice this week.
STEELERS: Rookie nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu apologized after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing on charges stemming from an alleged drunken-driving rampage, according to the Associated Press. He was arrested last month after police said he crashed into several other cars, then ran away from officers. Ta'amu, who was suspended two games by the Steelers, told reporters Thursday, "If there was any other word I would say it, but 'sorry' is the only word I can say right now." This isn't Ta'amu's first run-in with the police. He was arrested for a December 2009 driving-under-the-influence incident while attending the University of Washington, but pleaded guilty to negligent driving.
BENGALS: Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green riled up the Giants on Thursday when he said he saw "a lot of holes" in the defense. "I'll talk with my pads come Sunday. That's how I approach the game. That's how we always approach the game," safety Antrel Rolle said, via ESPNNewYork.com. "If he sees me, he better duck. That's it." Green's comment is really nothing when you compare it to Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who described the defensive effort as "soft" after the loss to the Steelers. Green also isn't alone in thinking that the NFL's 25th-ranked defense has a lot of holes.
BROWNS: New CEO Joe Banner told The Plain Dealer that he and owner Jimmy Haslam have to decide whether rookie Brandon Weeden is a franchise quarterback over the next seven games. "The only reason I'm leaving the door open is, you could think he's the right answer and a year from now go, "Oh, gee, I thought he was but he isn't,'" Banner said. "So it's not like you're etching it in stone, but you certainly have to at least for your next off-season plan, make a determination as to whether in two years from now, when we're trying to be a championship-caliber team, is he good enough to lead us there?" If the Browns are drafting in the top five in April, they would have an opportunity to take a quarterback like USC's Matt Barkley or West Virginia's Geno Smith.