Thursday, June 14, 2012
Wake-up: Flacco gets excused absence
By Jamison Hensley
Like Ed Reed, Joe Flacco is missing the final two days of Ravens mandatory minicamp. Unlike Reed, the Baltimore quarterback was excused by the team.
Flacco rushed home to New Jersey on Wednesday when his wife Dana went into labor. “Joe got the call this morning, and obviously the labor had started and Joe was high-tailing up the road,” coach John Harbaugh said, via the team's website. “I wish them nothing but the best.”
Flacco said they chose not to find out whether the baby will be a boy or a girl.
Hensley's slant: Flacco and Ben Roethlisberger have taken this competition between rivals to the extreme. Flacco got married last year and Roethlisberger soon did the same. Now, they're both going to be fathers. All joking aside, the AFC North blog wishes the Flacco family the best.
BENGALS: Andy Dalton hasn't been afraid to throw the ball deep during the offseason camps, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. He threw a pass that traveled more than 70 yards in the air last Monday, and he hit A.J. Green in double coverage on a throw that went 55 yards. Quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese is among those who don’t have any major concerns over Dalton’s arm strength, but he told the paper that he could see where others outside the building could. Dalton left a number of passes short last year. Hensley's slant: Green is going to help any quarterback look good when they throw the ball downfield. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Green had 12 receptions of at least 30 yards in 2011, the fourth-most in the NFL. The rest of the Bengals' receivers had eight such receptions.
BROWNS: Punter Reggie Hodges told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he has fully recovered from an Achilles injury that sidelined him all of last season. In 2010, Hodges averaged 43.9 yards per punt. His replacement last year, Brad Maynard, averaged 40.5 yards per punt. Hensley's slant: The Browns punted the ball 89 times last season, which was the eighth-most in the NFL. With the addition of running back Trent Richardson and quarterback Brandon Weeden, Cleveland is hoping to use its punter less this season.
STEELERS: The Pittsburgh Steelers haven't made a big deal of Mike Wallace's absence until Wednesday. That's when team president Art Rooney II delivered a message to his Pro Bowl receiver who has yet to sign his restricted free-agent tender. "He should be here," Rooney told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Hensley's slant: What the Post-Gazette failed to ask Rooney was whether or not the Steelers plan to reduce his $2.7 million tender to to $577,500 if Wallace doesn't sign it by Friday. It's assumed that Pittsburgh won't do so, but no one from the organization has confirmed this publicly.