SOMEWHERE IN WESTERN PENNSYLVANIA -- I'm making my way to Pittsburgh Steelers training camp for the last stop on my AFC North tour. For Steelers fans, you know I saved the best for last. Or did I just go in my predicted order of the division? As you ponder that, I have the GPS set for St. Vincent College. If I can get players before practice, I will have a Steelers post on the blog by early afternoon. If not, I will put up a post after the team's afternoon workout. Here's your wake-up call ...
RAVENS: The battle for the starting center position took an interesting turn when the Ravens revealed A.Q. Shipley will start Thursday's preseason game. Gino Gradkowski, who has long been considered the favorite to win the job, started the preseason opener. "The nice thing right now is everybody says, 'Who's the guy?'" Ravens run-game coordinator Juan Castillo said, via The Baltimore Sun. "We're talking to them and we say, 'We need to have some separation, somebody has to come to the top.' The problem is they're both playing real well right now. They're both doing a good job. They're both in the pass protection, both using their hands real well."
BENGALS: Outside linebacker James Harrison still insists there isn't much of a difference going from Pittsburgh's 3-4 defense to Cincinnati's 4-3 scheme. "I’m basically doing the same things, I’m just doing it from a different alignment," Harrison said, via the team's official website. "The hardest part is getting used to lining up stacked off of the line and having to read centers, tackles, guards, all of that, where normally I’m just reading the tackles and tight ends. I don’t rush as much, especially on tackles now, but I’m doing the same things as some point in time that I did in Pittsburgh. Even when we were in our nickel coverages in Pittsburgh, sometimes I lined up stacked. Now I’m just doing it down after down."
STEELERS: Nose tackle Alameda Ta'amu hopes to repay the Steelers for sticking with him after his late-night, drunken-driving rampage 10 months ago. "I just want to keep working and, hopefully, that the next time people start talking it will be about football," Ta'amu told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I just want to keep quiet and let my work do the noise." Ta'amu added, "All the mistakes were because of me. It's up to me to fix them and try to do better this year."
BROWNS: Running back Trent Richardson will play in his first preseason game for the Browns, according to an Associated Press report. Coach Rob Chudzinski said Richardson, who has been slowed by a shin injury, will be used for "a couple of series. Richardson told reporters after practice: "I kind of had a feeling he was going to say, 'Yeah' today because he had me going in there with starters today. It felt good when I was out there and I'm happy coach told y'all I can play."