If you missed it, there was some news late Monday afternoon in the AFC North. The NFL announced a one-game suspension of Ravens safety Ed Reed. Sources confirmed that Steelers quarterback Byron Leftwich is unlikely to play with rib and shoulder injuries. And the Steelers are bringing in wide receiver Plaxico Burress for a visit to address depth concerns at wide receiver. Now that you're caught up with that, here's your wake-up call ...
RAVENS: The team has to find the right time and balance for Joe Flacco's contract extension, according to Mike Preston of The Baltimore Sun. "The Ravens are six games away from completing the 2012 regular season, and they are approaching the time when a team might consider signing its franchise quarterback to a contract extension," Preston wrote. "So far, it hasn't happened for quarterback Joe Flacco and you have to wonder what front office members of the Ravens might be thinking. If this season is Flacco's final case to show he deserves to be one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL, then he might have raised some doubt."
STEELERS: The Steelers will host several free-agent quarterbacks for workouts Tuesday, including Mike Kafka and Brian Hoyer, sources told ESPN. Kafka, who played two seasons for the Eagles, is considered the favorite, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported. The Steelers are looking for a backup after Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich went down with rib and shoulder injuries the past two games. Kafka, a fourth-round pick by Philadelphia in 2010, has appeared in four games (no starts), throwing no touchdowns and two interceptions. He broke his non-throwing hand in this year's preseason and was unseated by Nick Foles as the Eagles' primary backup.
BENGALS: A big reason the Bengals have won their past two games is their success in the red zone. They've scored a touchdown in seven of their past eight trips inside the 20-yard line, including all four chances Sunday. "You’ve got to have confidence when you get down there that you’re going to make a play,” Cincinnati offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said, via The Cincinnati Enquirer. “The windows are small. The windows are tight. And throws have to be perfect and runs after catch are paramount, and obviously the determination to get extra yards is very important.”
BROWNS: Head coach Pat Shurmur doesn't think running back Trent Richardson ran out of gas in Dallas. In the first half, when the Browns took a 13-0 lead, he had 16 carries for 62 yards and three catches for 31 yards. In the second half, he had 12 carries for 33 yards and three catches for 18 yards. “I thought he did a lot of good things in the second half,” Shurmur said, via the Akron Beacon Journal. “I don’t think he got tired. There were a lot of full-grown men going at it [Sunday] night. That was a team pretty good against the run, as we all know. The guys stood toe-to-toe and we found a way to have some success.”