Every morning, grab a cup of coffee and get your AFC North wake-up call here:
William Gay will make his second start for the Steelers at cornerback even though Bryant McFadden is no longer on the injury report.
Gay made the start last Sunday because McFadden, who has been dealing with a nagging hamstring injury, had been questionable all week. McFadden, though, has had full participation in practice this week.
Asked why McFadden wouldn't start, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "I think it's a reflection of his health right now."
Also, center Maurkice Pouncey (hamstring) had a full practice Thursday after being limited the day before.
Hensley's slant: The Steelers are going against quarterback Kerry Collins, who has struggled and is dealing with a sore throwing shoulder this week. As long as Pittsburgh puts pressure on Collins, it doesn't really matter who is lining up at cornerback.
BENGALS: Authorities are sorting out who to prosecute and what charges will be filed in Tuesday's marijuana incident involving starting wide receiver Jerome Simpson, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Justice told The Cincinnati Enquirer. Since the drugs crossed state lines, federal and felony charges are likely and would probably include prison time, the spokeswoman added. Hensley's slant: Bengals coach Marvin Lewis declined comment on the game-day status of Simpson, who was excused from Thursday's practice. It seems unlikely that Simpson would play, which probably means Andre Caldwell will start against San Francisco.
BROWNS: Running back Peyton Hillis has watched left tackle Joe Thomas, tight end Evan Moore and defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin all get contract extensions this year. Hillis, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, said he won't be distracted by negotiations during the season. "When people say they want to stop negotiating, that's just because they want to play better and they don't want the figure to hang over their heads," Hillis told The Cleveland Plain Dealer. "To me, if they want to come back and talk, I'm more than open. It's just whenever." Hensley's slant: It was only two weeks ago when team president Mike Holmgren said the Browns were "trying like crazy" to sign Hillis to an extension. If you buy into Holmgren's words, Hillis won't hit the free-agent market this offseason.
RAVENS: Torrey Smith hasn't caught a pass in the first two games, but The Baltimore Sun's Mike Preston contends that it's too early to give up on the rookie wide receiver. The second-round pick could be making his first NFL start Sunday at St. Louis if Baltimore rests Lee Evans (ankle). "I think if you go back, you'll see that even Jerry Rice struggled in his first year," Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome told The Sun. Hensley's slant: The knock on Smith leading up to the draft was other wide receiver prospects were more polished than he was, so his slow start should not be startling. The Ravens have to figure out a way to boost his confidence. Perhaps some quick bubble screens will get him back on track.