The AFC North will likely get shut out of the major NFL onfield awards. I don't see the MVP, Defensive Player of the Year or even Coach of the Year coming from the division.
But the AFC North could have one of its own recognized for a prestigious off-the-field award. Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch and Browns tight end Ben Watson are among the five finalists the 2013 Byron “Whizzer” White award. It annually recognizes players who go above and beyond to perform community service in their teams' cities and hometowns. Congratulations to those players.
Now, here's your wake-up call ...
RAVENS: Cam Cameron said there are "no hard feelings" with the Ravens and he will be cheering them on in the Super Bowl despite being fired as their offensive coordinator last month. "I had a great, great five years," Cameron told USA Today. "I respect the decision they made. That doesn't mean I have to like it. It's funny, you go from being an offensive coordinator to a fan in a split second. People think that's hard to do, but for me, it's not hard. How can you not pull for Joe (Flacco) and Matt Birk and Torrey (Smith) and Jacoby (Jones) and Ray (Rice) and Marshal (Yanda) and Dennis (Pitta), and Ray Lewis?"
BENGALS: Head coach Marvin Lewis talked to Andre Smith about last week, when the soon-to-be free agent offensive tackle was arrested for trying to board a plane with a loaded gun. Judging by Lewis' comments Wednesday, his chat with Smith was not a particularly upbeat one. "He's a smart guy that got involved in a dumb situation; an oxymoron," Lewis said, via the team's official website. "He's a smart guy that got involved in a dumb situation that caused him an embarrassment for a moment."
STEELERS: With the Steelers having depth on the defensive line, could they switch to a 4-3 scheme? You can make a case for it on paper. The Steelers can go with Ziggy Hood, Cameron Heyward, Steve McLendon and Brett Keisel up front and LaMarr Woodley, James Harrison and Lawrence Timmons at linebackers. But the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette points out that Woodley and Harrison aren't typical 4-3 linebackers. Their strength is rushing the passer and not dropping back in coverage.
BROWNS: Head coach Rob Chudzinski revealed what type of defense the Browns are going to be running. Well, sort of. “We feel like [with] the guys here, there’s some flexibility with the 4-3, 3-4,” Chudzinski said, via the Akron Beacon Journal. “Ray (Horton, defensive coordinator) can do anything. He can coach any of those different schemes, and we’re going to utilize a little bit of everything. I think that word ‘hybrid’ is used. I don’t know if that’s the accurate term, but there will be 4-3 principles and 3-4 principles in the defense.”