My trips to the AFC North training camps are officially complete, and tour T-shirts will be available shortly. I'm thinking of having the back of the shirt read: "This division sent three teams to the playoffs. How about yours." Even though I'm not on-site at a camp today, it will still be a busy day. My observations for the Bengals' and Browns' preseason games will be posted this morning as well as the Ravens' Camp Confidential file. I will also be attending the Ravens' preseason game against Detroit on Friday night. And, before I forget, here's the wake-up call:
BENGALS: Andy Dalton has heard the criticism about his arm strength and he delivered his rebuttal in Thursday night's preseason game at Atlanta. Dalton delivered an arching pass that went to A.J. Green for a 50-yard touchdown. “My arm feels great," Dalton said, via the Cincinnati Enquirer, "and you can tell everybody that it’s not even close to what I’ve got if I need it." Maybe this is the year when Dalton shows off his arm as well as swagger.
BROWNS: Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden had a solid bounce-back performance in Thursday's 35-10 preseason win at Green Bay. He completed 12 of 20 attempts for 118 yards, with no touchdowns, interceptions or sacks. "It was definitely an upgrade for me over last week," Weeden said, via the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "This game is something to build off of. But there's still a lot of room for improvement." The difference this week is that Weeden can work on improving without the pressure of fans panicking.
RAVENS: Head coach John Harbaugh called it a "great test" for his offensive line to go against a Lions defensive front that is headlined by Pro Bowl defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and defensive end Cliff Avril. "It's going to be a big challenge for us," Harbaugh said, via the Baltimore Sun. "I'm pretty sure, knowing that team's personality, they are going to come in here and make a statement even though it's preseason. I'm sure they'll still be trying to make their statement, and our guys will understand that." Baltimore's starters could play the entire first half in Friday night's preseason game against Detroit.
STEELERS: Outside linebacker James Harrison didn't reveal a timetable for his return on Thursday, a day after having athroscopic knee surgery . "It feels all right," Harrison told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He indicated that he would like to play in a preseason game before classifying himself as "week to week." The fact that he is thinking of playing in the preseason is a good sign that he should be ready for the Sept. 9 regular-season opener at Denver.