It's a special day for the division today. Your resident blogger is celebrating his birthday. I know, you forgot to send a card. Don't sweat it. My gift to you is the Bengals' Camp Confidential and a piece on soon-to-be inducted Jonathan Ogden, both of which will be posted later today. Until then, here's the wake-up call ...
RAVENS: Experts are optimistic that tight end Dennis Pitta can return from a hip injury next season, according to The Baltimore Sun. "With a professional athlete like Dennis, his rehabilitation protocol should allow for him to return to full capability by next season," said Dr. Derek Ochiai, an orthopedic hip surgeon based in Arlington, Va. "I would expect him to be ready by the middle of [next] summer. What they let him do as far as offseason stuff and training camp next year is obviously far ahead of him and up to the Ravens and Dennis. But with a lot of hard work and patience, he should be back."
BENGALS: The Bengals have plenty of options at returner this year, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer. The favorite appears to be Adam Jones, who finished seventh in the league in punt-return average (11.6 yards per return). “He creates a lot of stress and anxiety for coaches, which is what you want to do," special-teams coach Darrin Simmons said. "I think he applies pressure to everyone he faces.”
STEELERS: The Steelers believe Le'Veon Bell is a good fit in the team's new zone-blocking scheme. "You have to have enough speed to threaten them, that's the big thing," offensive-line coach Jack Bicknell told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "You don't have to be a 4.2 guy. You just have to have enough speed to threaten the outside, to make them think 'Hey, he could get around the edge,' and I think we have that."
BROWNS: A week into training camp, offensive tackle Joe Thomas believes the new blitz-happy defense is "willing to bring the house." Said Thomas, via The Plain Dealer: "I think this defense is going to take more risks. I think (Steelers defensive coordinator) Dick Lebeau is less likely to take a risk and give up a big play with a blitz or a pressure than our coordinator Ray Horton. He’s more willing to try to hit the quarterback and force an interception, force a turnover."