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Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Wake-up: Coyle allowed to talk to Miami

By Jamison Hensley

Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:

The Bengals have given permission to the Dolphins to speak to secondary coach Kevin Coyle about Miami's defensive coordinator job, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. Coyle is expected to meet with the Dolphins this week in Miami, The Enquirer reported.

He is considered the top in-house choice to become Cincinnati's defensive coordinator if Mike Zimmer left for a head-coaching opening. Zimmer is in the running for the jobs in Tampa Bay and Indianapolis.

Head coach Marvin Lewis said he is in the process of putting together a list of potential candidates at the Senior Bowl to fill Coyle's position.

“This is my chance to come down here and have one-stop shopping and talk to people about different people I know,” Lewis told The Enquirer.

Hensley's slant: It looks like the Bengals expect to keep Zimmer and lose Coyle if you connect the dots. The Bengals denied Coyle permission to talk to the Eagles last season about their defensive coordinator position. So, by granting him permission this year, it says that Cincinnati believes Zimmer will stay. The Bengals wouldn't want to put themselves in a position where they would lose both  Zimmer and Coyle in the same offseason.

BROWNS: To no one's surprise, the Cleveland Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto says the Browns are looking to get a fast receiver this offseason. "There were no other receivers to take any attention away from the rookie [Greg Little]," Pluto wrote. "The Browns want to add a speed receiver. If they do, Little should be position for a strong second season." Hensley's slant: If the Browns are looking for top-end speed at wide receiver, they won't be selecting one with the fourth overall pick. The best receivers in this draft class -- Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd and Alshon Jeffery -- are considered playmakers but not the top burners at the position. Kendall Wright has elite speed and could be available when the Browns make their second selection in the first round at No. 22 (this pick came from Atlanta in the draft-day trade for Julio Jones).

RAVENS: A team source told The Baltimore Sun that no coaches have been dismissed yet, but that could happen in the next two to three weeks. The source indicated many offensive coaches were told they had to get to the Super Bowl to avoid possible dismissal and that offensive coordinator Cam Cameron has not been told whether he will return next season. According to The Sun, Cameron drew criticism from team officials for throwing the ball to receiver Lee Evans in the end zone late in the game instead of to other prominent receivers. Hensley's slant: Beyond the results, what hurts Cameron is his relationship with quarterback Joe Flacco. There's been speculation for years that Cameron and Flacco don't see eye to eye when it comes to the offense. If the Ravens had to make a choice between the two, they would go with Flacco, who is expected to receive a contract extension this offseason.

STEELERS: Head coach Mike Tomlin is facing some issues at the quarterback position, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The primary backup job will be given to either Byron Leftwich or Charlie Batch, both of whom are unrestricted free agents in March. Dennis Dixon is expected to go someplace where he can be the clear-cut No. 2 quarterback. Hensley's slant: Batch is 3-1 when he's had to fill in for starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, but the favorite to become the backup is Leftwich. The Steelers brought back Leftwich on a draft-day trade in 2010 for a reason. He would have served as the No. 2 quarterback this season if he didn't break his left arm in the preseason.