The AFC North blog is going to keep the Steelers morning links in the wake-up call for one more day. Who says camaraderie is gone in this division? Here's what is happening around the AFC North ...
RAVENS: Ed Dickson had another strong day of practice with the Ravens on Monday, and all indications point toward the starting tight end being ready to go for the season opener at Denver, according to Comcast SportsNet. He missed time this preseason with a hamstring injury. "He’s running well. He’s catching the ball well," offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. "He looks just as explosive as he did a few weeks ago before he was injured, so that’s coming along well."
BENGALS: Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer came to the defense of struggling cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, who allowed a touchdown to Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, committed two pass interference penalties, missed three tackles and gave up nine receptions. “Everybody is all nervous about Kirkpatrick,” Zimmer said, via The Cincinnati Enquirer. “He got beat up pretty good by Dez Bryant and a couple of the other guys. If it is a real game, we are doing things differently. He’ll be fine. I want him to go out there and compete against guys. This is how you learn. You don’t learn nothing by going out and shutting a guy down every time.”
STEELERS: Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley hopes increasing his sack total will decrease the talk about his weight. “People have got to find excuses for you, or say things about you, when your numbers drop,” Woodley told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “But it's all about how you handle it at the end of the day, and coming back this year and bouncing back and trying to get back to the Super Bowl.” Woodley had nine sacks in the first eight games of the 2011 season before recording just four in the past 13 games that he's played.
BROWNS: Quarterback Brandon Weeden said there is "no reason to push the panic button like everybody wants to" on the Browns' offense. Weeden believes the rough outing against the Colts, which included 12-of-25 passing -- will serve as a lesson for an offense that had little trouble scoring in the first two preseason games. "Sometimes you need that," Weeden said, via The Plain Dealer. "You need a little slap in the face to say 'listen, you've got to keep continuing to grind.' It's human nature to get a little ahead of yourself, but what better timing? It doesn't count in the win-loss record for the regular season. We knew it wasn't going to be perfect all the time. It's just impossible to play 20 perfect games. It's just not going to happen. We'd been pretty good the first two games. Now it's just, 'how do we deal with that adversity? How do we move on?' And it'll be a big step for us." ... Also, the Browns have placed backup running back Dion Lewis on season-ending injured reserve with a surgically repaired fractured fibula.