Thursday, August 9, 2012
Clayton's thoughts on AFC North
By Jamison Hensley
From the scheduling of our training camp tours, I've kind of been stalking ESPN's John Clayton from Cleveland to Baltimore. With the exception of Cincinnati, we've provided double coverage of sorts on the teams in the division.
Here's some of Clayton's thoughts from his stops in the AFC North:
Clayton: If Terrell Suggs has to sit out the entire season because of his torn Achilles tendon, I don't know where the Ravens will come up with the 14 sacks to replace him.
My thoughts: In order to replace Suggs' production, Paul Kruger needs to have a career year and rookie Courtney Upshaw can't have many growing pains. The Ravens are also going to have to blitz more often, which will put pressure on their cornerbacks.
Clayton: The Steelers could still get a long-term deal done with holdout wide receiver Mike Wallace. I can't see the Steelers letting Wallace hit the free-agent market next year. He's too valuable.
My thoughts: I wasn't among those who thought the Steelers chose Antonio Brown over Wallace. Brown had a great second half of last season, but his production was helped by defenses keeping tabs on Wallace. The Steelers need both Brown and Wallace.
Clayton: How would you like to have a lockout and an ownership change define your first two years as a head coach? As we've seen, it's hard for a head coach to have job security if he starts off with two losing seasons.
My thoughts: Pat Shurmur is in an unenviable position. The Browns are a much more talented team than a year ago, but the final results might not show that. It will be extremely tough for the Browns to reach seven wins, much less nine, because of their tough schedule.