The NFL season has reached the halfway point, and that will be a theme all week here on the AFC North blog. We'll post the midseason stock watch a little later this morning and the all-division team for the first half of the season will roll out Wednesday. Here's your wake-up call ...
RAVENS: Both of the Ravens' starting guards are dealing with minor injuries, according to The Baltimore Sun. Pro Bowl right guard Marshal Yanda, who left Sunday's game briefly, "tweaked" his knee and ankle, coach John Harbaugh said. Right guard Bobbie Williams has a sprained ankle. Meanwhile, linebacker Ray Lewis won't be around Baltimore anytime soon as he recovers in Florida from his torn triceps injury. "He probably won't be in the building for a little while," Harbaugh said. "He's got the best doctors in the world, to my understanding, working on his triceps. So, I fully trust Ray with his rehab right now. I know he's doing everything he can to get back."
STEELERS: Safety Ryan Clark believes he's being targeted by officials after being flagged for a "hit to the head" on Giants receive Victor Cruz. It looked like Clark hit Cruz's midsection and it was later announced that Cruz had injured his ribs. The penalty gave the Giants the ball at the 1 and set up a touchdown. "I thought I did the right thing," Clark told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I thought I hit him in the ribs. I tried to get my head to the side, tried to obey the rules as they've been laid out to me. I think referees have meetings about me before the game. I think anytime they see '25' flash and a hit be made, there's going to be an opportunity for me to get a flag."
BENGALS: The center position is a major area of weakness for the Bengals. Jeff Faine and Trevor Robinson have struggled and can't stay healthy in trying to replace starter Kyle Cook (ankle), who is not close to returning. On the second-to-last drive, Faine was called for holding and then allowed a pressure that led to an Andy Dalton interception. "That was a three-man rush,” offensive coordinator Jay Gruden told CBS Sports. “Clint (Boling) could have helped out a little bit. There's no reason for them to get that pressure."
BROWNS: In a problem that should've been rectified in training camp, coach Pat Shurmur vowed to make play calls quicker than he did in Sunday's loss to Baltimore. The Browns were forced to use three timeouts to avoid delay of game penalties because they couldn't get plays called and players lined up in time. "We need to be better at that," Shurmur said, via The Plain Dealer. "I'll take full responsibility for all of it. We can streamline some things." One reason for the holdup is the fact that Shurmur talks to offensive coordinator Brad Childress about the plays before relaying them to quarterback Brandon Weeden.