AFC North: A.J. Feeley

Happy Labor Day everyone. Feel free to check back with the AFC North blog today in between hot dogs because we'll have new content up throughout the day. By this time next week, the Browns and Steelers will have played their first games and we'll be gearing up for Bengals-Ravens on "Monday Night Football." So, are you ready for some wake-up call?

BENGALS: Former Bengals receiver-turned-television analyst Cris Collinsworth was "stunned" by Cincinnati making the playoffs last season. But his expectations haven't gone down for the Bengals. "They have good young talent. … I certainly think they’re a team that is going to compete," Collinsworth told the Cincinnati Enquirer. I think they’ll be like a lot of other teams that are hanging right around that .500 mark, and win or lose a couple of close games, and that decides it. But the future looks a little brighter than it has in awhile for Cincinnati.”

BROWNS: It sounds as if the Browns are moving on with Colt McCoy as their backup quarterback. "I think we are pretty set there," Heckert said of Cleveland's quarterback situation, via The Plain Dealer. "You never say never, but right now we're pretty happy with that situation." There had been rumblings that the Browns were interested in trading for Rams quarterback A.J. Feeley, who has ties with Heckert, coach Pat Shurmur and offensive coordinator Brad Childress. "A.J. is one of my good friends, but I haven't talked to A.J. in months," Heckert said.

RAVENS: Baltimore signed former Steelers quarterback Dennis Dixon to round out its practice squad, The Baltimore Sun reported. Dixon, 27, tried out for the Ravens in April, but the team decided to go with Curtis Painter, who was released Friday. With Joe Flacco and Tyrod Taylor on the 53-man roster, Dixon provides insurance as the third quarterback. He hasn't been on an NFL roster since the end of last season with Pittsburgh, which looks like a red flag. Dixon was reportedly considering an offer to join the UFL's Sacramento Mountain Lions last month.

STEELERS: The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette feels Jonathan Dwyer is making a push to be the Steelers' starting running back. "He toted the load tonight," coach Mike Tomlin said. "He was the primary ballcarrier, and that's kind of what we wanted to see. It's really a snapshot of his growth and development throughout this training camp and preseason. First things first, he showed up in good physical condition, that's a prerequisite. He kind of took off from there ... it needs to continue. He's capable of it continuing." I still see Isaac Redman getting the start at Denver. But Dwyer's solid performance in the preseason should have earned him more carries going forward.

Cleveland Browns cut-down analysis

September, 1, 2012
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Click here for a full list of the Cleveland Browns' roster moves.

Significant move: The Browns made some headway in resolving their backup quarterback position when they cut Seneca Wallace. There are conflicting reports whether Colt McCoy will be the primary backup to rookie Brandon Weeden. A Philadelphia radio station is speculating the Browns might trade for Rams quarterback A.J. Feeley, but The Plain Dealer disputed that rumor. It makes sense for the Browns to chose McCoy over Wallace. He is seven years younger than Wallace and costs almost $1.9 million less this season. Cleveland retained Thad Lewis as its developmental third quarterback.

Onward and upward: Evan Moore was released by the Browns, and he should catch on with another team seeking a pass-catching tight end. It had to be a difficult decision for the Browns because they signed him to a three-year deal 11 months ago. Moore also will account for $1.1 million in dead money this year. He caught a career-high 34 passes last season, but there are questions about his blocking. The Browns moved on to Jordan Cameron, a 2011 fourth-round pick, to be their third tight end early in training camp when Moore was sidelined with a hamstring injury.

What's next: The Browns already have started making moves, trading backup safety David Sims to the Eagles for a conditional draft pick. Sims turned heads this preseason with two interceptions (a third was negated by a penalty), returning one for a 38-yard touchdown. Cleveland also has begun to address depth at linebacker, bringing in Solomon Elimimian for a physical after the CFL veteran was waived by the Vikings. The Browns could be without starting outside linebacker Scott Fujita, who is on the suspended list (he doesn't count against the roster right now), for the season opener as well as rookie James-Michael Johnson, who suffered an oblique injury Thursday night.
The assumption was the Browns would choose Colt McCoy or Seneca Wallace as their backup quarterback. Cleveland, though, might have other plans.

The only certainty is Wallace is no longer in the running to be the No. 2 quarterback behind rookie Brandon Weeden. The Browns cut Wallace after two seasons, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported.

There are conflicting reports about whether this move means McCoy is safe. Philadelphia radio personality Howard Eskin is speculating that A.J. Feeley could get traded from the Rams to the Browns. Feeley played under Browns coach Pat Shurmur for three seasons in Philadelphia (when Shurmur was the quarterbacks coach) and for one season in St. Louis (where Shurmur was the offensive coordinator). But The Plain Dealer is reporting that the Feeley rumor is untrue.

Whether the Browns go with McCoy or Feeley, they still made the right move in getting rid of Wallace and his $2.4 million salary. Some thought the Browns would keep Wallace because of his long-standing ties with team president Mike Holmgren.

Wallace showed he was not worth the money when he replaced McCoy last season. In a December game in Baltimore last season, he chose to run the ball deep in Ravens territory with 11 seconds remaining in the first half and no timeouts left. The clock ran out on the Browns and they left points on the field. That's not the type of mentor the Browns would want for Weeden.

As for McCoy, he apparently is in limbo. But he should be used to it. That's been his status ever since the Browns selected Weeden in the first round four months ago.
BEREA, Ohio -- Browns coach Pat Shurmur's standard response when asked about the preferred timetable to name a starting quarterback is "sooner rather than later." He said essentially the same thing when I asked him before Tuesday's practice.

But Shurmur went one step further Wednesday, hinting Brandon Weeden could be named the starter at the beginning of training camp in late July.

On Wednesday, Shurmur compared the Browns' quarterback situation to the one he had when he was the offensive coordinator in St. Louis. The Rams split reps throughout the offseason practices between Sam Bradford, the team's first-round pick, and A.J. Feeley.

"At the beginning of training camp, we named Sam the starter," Shurmur said Wednesday. "He had a pretty good year his first year."

Most assume it's only a matter of time anyway before Weeden receives the title as starting quarterback. Shurmur said ideally the Browns would already have a starter named.

"When you have new players that you really like, and that’s why you picked them, you just need to see them come in and do it before you make that move," Shurmur said.

Video: Bradford struggles but Rams win

August, 22, 2010
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The St. Louis Rams lose A.J. Feeley but beat the Browns 19-17 despite Jake Delhomme's solid start.

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AFC NORTH SCOREBOARD