Thursday, March 28, 2013
Wake-up: Expect more shotgun for Weeden
By Jamison Hensley
Other than the Ravens' two signings this week, it's been a relatively quiet period for the division in free agency. The Steelers play host to running back Ahmad Bradshaw today, so something could materialize from that. The Bengals appear to be in a holding pattern with offensive tackle Andre Smith and cornerback Terence Newman. And the Browns still need to do something at cornerback, which is an issue we'll touch upon later today. Here's your wake-up call ...
RAVENS: Linebacker Terrell Suggs told the team's official website that he was never at full strength last season. He missed the first six games of the season while recovering from an offseason Achilles injury and then tore his biceps during the season. “I would have liked to have been healthier when I first came back,” Suggs said. “Not until late did it get somewhat back to normal, but I never played fully healthy. But that’s what the offseason is for, that’s behind me. I’m working to be the best player I can be for my city.” Also, defensive lineman Arthur Jones signed his second-round restricted free-agent tender of $2.03 million. That means he can't sign with another team this offseason and will be required to attend mandatory minicamp and training camp.
BENGALS: Recently signed quarterback Josh Johnson has a familiarity with the suddenly trendy read-option offense. The Buccaneers had a special read-option package for him when he was in Tampa from 2008 to 2011. "If that’s what (the Bengals) want me to do, I’ve done it before and I’ll come in and do it again," Johnson told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I know the conflict it creates on defenses and it does nothing but create more advantages for the offense." Johnson is expected to replace Bruce Gradkowski as the Bengals' top backup behind Andy Dalton.
STEELERS: It's assumed that free-agent running back Ahmad Bradshaw will come cheap because he is recovering from offseason foot surgery. Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette speculates that Bradshaw might want a one-year deal, which would give him a chance to prove he's healthy and allow him to get a bigger contract next offseason. Bradshaw is expected to take his physical Thursday for Pittsburgh. He only removed his walking boot last week, according to the Post-Gazette.
BROWNS: The Browns believe Brandon Weeden can be more successful in an offense that will allow him to throw more out of the shotgun, according to The Plain Dealer's Terry Pluto. Last season, Weeden threw 42 percent of his passes out of the shotgun, which ranked 38th among quarterbacks with at least 100 passes out of that formation. This is likely the preferred alignment for Weeden, who primarily worked out of the shotgun at Oklahoma State. New Browns coach Rob Chudzinski used the shotgun on 74 percent of the passes thrown last year by Carolina's Cam Newton. Pluto also feels that this is Weeden's job to lose despite the addition of Jason Campbell.