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Saturday, August 3, 2013
ChatRewind: Update on Steelers injuries

By Jamison Hensley

For a full transcript of this week's AFC North chat, you can click right here. For some highlights, just read on ...

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Sebastian (Baltimore): Do you think the Ravens will make the playoffs?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): While some will accuse me of drinking the purple Kool-Aid, I still believe the Ravens are a playoff team. There's no question that the loss of Dennis Pitta (hip) for the season hurts the Ravens. But this isn't like 2001, when the Ravens lost running back Jamal Lewis. The defense will be better than last year, especially against the run, and the Ravens will still be able to run the ball with [Ray] Rice, [Bernard] Pierce and [Vonta] Leach.

Brad (Baltimore): In your guess how do you see the Ravens WR depth chart unfolding?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): My projection is this: Torrey Smith, Tandon Doss, Jacoby Jones, Deonte Thompson and either David Reed or LaQuan Williams for that last spot (which is really a special-teams spot). I feel Doss complements Smith more than Jones. Plus, Jones can be the full-time returner if he's the No. 3 receiver like last year.

CINCINNATI BENGALS

Ricky (Cincinnati): What are the odds that George Iloka actually starts opposite Reggie Nelson this year for the Bengals?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): My pecking order for the Bengals' strong safety spot is Shawn Williams, Taylor Mays and George Iloka. I like Iloka and the Bengals do as well. His style of play is better suited for free safety. Williams is smart and has good instincts. He could start as a rookie.

Michael (Canton, OH): Living in Canton and all the festivities that have been happening, I've been wondering if any player from the Bengals will join Anthony Munoz in the Hall of Fame?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): As long as the Bengals can figure out a way to keep him there long term, A.J. Green will be a Hall of Fame receiver if he continues on this path. He is clearly the best player on the Bengals' team. But he's only in his third season. There's a lot of football to be played by Green.

CLEVELAND BROWNS

Browns Fan (Living in Cincy): I am very curious who you think will be lining up at CB across from Joe Haden and who will lining up at the other saftey position next to Ward? Thanks.

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): I'm pretty confident in saying Tashaun Gipson will be the free safety lining up next to T.J. Ward. The cornerback position is more up in the air. The Browns want rookie third-round pick Leon McFadden to win the job. But, if the season began today, the Browns would start Chris Owens.

Charles (Columbus, OH): Look into your crystal ball for me. Is Barkevious Mingo be a boom or bust in Cleveland?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): I believe Mingo will be a very effective pass-rusher. I still have questions on whether he will hold up against the run.

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Luke (Carlisle, Pa.): Any news or updates on the Sean Spence front?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): Spence is on the PUP [physically unable to perform] list and can't practice in training camp. It's going to be a long road back from that devastating knee injury. But Spence has tested it out cutting and has gained some of his speed back.

Greg (Williamsport, PA): Any updates on Heath Miller? When do you expect him back this year?

Jamison Hensley (ESPN): Miller told the team's website that he can run and make cuts, but he gave no timetable on his return from ACL surgery. If the Steelers believe he can play in October, they will take him off PUP. If they see him out for a longer period, the Steelers will keep him on PUP, which sidelines him for at least the first six weeks.