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Thursday, December 20, 2012
Wake-up: Flacco confident about new deal

By Jamison Hensley

It's time for your wake-up call ...

RAVENS: Joe Flacco believes he'll get a new deal done with the Ravens as he heads into the final games under his rookie contract. The sides tabled talks before the start of the season. “Yeah, I always am [optimistic],” Flacco said, via The Baltimore Sun. “This is a great organization and you’re always upbeat about that.” This has been a rough month for Flacco, who has committed six turnovers in the team's three-game losing streak. He accepts full responsibility for Baltimore's longest skid since 2009. "All of it," Flacco said. "It starts with the quarterback."

BENGALS: Kyle Cook bristled at the suggestion that the center rotation with him and rookie Trevor Robinson has hurt the chemistry on the offensive line. “I don’t buy that. Are you serious? You don’t think I’ve played with these guys before?,” Cook said, via The Cincinnati Enquirer. “The protection calls are the same. Unless guys are blowing up the middle I would say sure it has something to do with it. You go look at it and there are similar breakdowns no matter who is in there. We just have to eliminate them no matter what it is.” Andy Dalton has been sacked 11 times the past two games, including a season-high six times against Philadelphia.

STEELERS: While quarterback Ben Roethlisberger apologized for questioning the play-calling, running back Rashard Mendenhall didn't feel the need to do the same after returning from a one-game suspension. "I'm really not trying to go back into that," Mendenhall said, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "It's good to be back." Head coach Mike Tomlin explained Mendenhall's actions stemmed from "frustration." But Mendenhall said, "I wouldn't use that word. There's a lot of thought that goes into everything that I do."

BROWNS: Nick Saban has been rumored as a possible candidate for the Browns' coaching job if Pat Shurmur is fired at the end of the season. But Cleveland running back Trent Richardson, who played under Saban at Alabama, isn't buying it. "I can't see him coming to the NFL," Richardson said, via the Associated Press. "I would be very shocked. How can you get tired of winning? He's got so much going there. He has no reason to leave. He gets what he needs and he treats his program like the NFL (anyway)."