Morning take: Mason defends Joe Flacco

Here are the most interesting stories Friday in the AFC North:

Morning take: Flacco is low key and probably won't respond. So it's good to see someone close to Flacco step up. But eventually Flacco has to answer his critics on the field.

Morning take: Esiason is as familiar with the organization as anyone. The Bengals have been running the same way for a long time. Despite very poor results, they haven't changed.

Morning take: Ward doesn't have to wait long, because the Steelers will visit the Ravens in Week 1. Expect a lot of back-and-forth trash talk during training camp and the preseason.

Morning take: I'm not counting on it. Two years is enough to get a good handle on most players, and despite a few flashes, I don't believe either receiver is Pro Bowl material.