Wake-up call: Starks works with first team

Good morning, AFC North family. Wednesdays are always a fun day for the division blog. This is the day for my weekly column (it will be posted at 10 a.m.), weekly poll and the weekly chat (which starts at 2 p.m.). It's a lot of weekly stuff, if you get the gist. Hey, that reminds me, here's the daily wake-up call:

BENGALS: No one cares about the preseason, right? Well, it sounds like new Packers running back Cedric Benson has a little riding on Thursday's preseason game at Paul Brown Stadium, where he ran the ball for the Bengals the past four seasons. "It's going to be fun, to say the least," Benson told reporters, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. It'll be good just to go against that defense. I've seen all those guys coming in, I've seen them work together, so it'll be fun to put a licking on them." No one should take Benson's comments too seriously. He actually left the Bengals on good terms. In other alumni news, the Patriots released former Bengals defensive tackle Jonathan Fanene after giving him a $3.85 million bonus five months ago, according to ESPN's John Clayton.

BROWNS: My apologies that this is a day late, but I wanted to pass along this anyway: coach Pat Shumur indicated that he'll keep Thad Lewis as this third quarterback, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. That means either Colt McCoy or Seneca Wallace will be gone before the start of the regular season. "There's something to Thad that I think is worth developing,'' said Shurmur, whose connection with Lewis goes back to 2010 when both were with the Rams. No one expected McCoy and Wallace to both make the final cutdown, but the team kept insisting that they could co-exist. One thing to remember: McCoy makes $540,000 this season and Wallace is scheduled to earn $2.4 million.

RAVENS: Albert McClellan seems to have the edge to start the season at outside linebacker over Courtney Upshaw, according to the Baltimore Sun. Upshaw, the team's top pick in the 2012 draft, is listed as the starter on the team's unofficial depth chart but McClellan has started the past two games. The Ravens have made it clear that the job wouldn't be given to Upshaw. “You’ve got to earn your stripes. You’ve got to earn your position, no matter what,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t know why a lot of people would think that. It’s pretty presumptuous. The best guys play.” McClellan is another one of the Ravens' undrafted success stories, but the team would be disappointed if Upshaw doesn't overtake him at some point this season.

STEELERS: You kind of get the feeling that Max Starks has the edge at left tackle. In his first full practice since being activated off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, Starks was immediately plugged into the starting lineup, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Starks, who had knee surgery in January, is expected to compete with rookie second-round pick Mike Adams for the job. “There’s a comfort level, I’m used to being around these guys,” Starks said. “Maurkice (Pouncey), Marcus, Willie (Colon), we’ve played together for a long time. The communication is a lot cleaner, and I think that helped out.” In other news, Isaac Redman returned to practice after missing time last week with a hip injury.