Around the AFC North: The Injury Bug Strikes

The teams in the AFC North are coming off of a 2-2 record in week five. The Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers won their games while the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals lost theirs. The injury bug reared it’s ugly head for three of the four teams. This week will be a tough week for the Bengals, Ravens and Browns as they deal with some of their better players being limited due to injury. This week’s stories aren’t solely about the injury bug however. There were definitely some things to ponder when it comes to the progression of some teams within the division. Let’s take a look at this week’s stories Around the AFC North.

Baltimore Ravens


The Ravens have been very thin in the secondary. Veteran cornerback Lardarius Webb has been limited by a back injury. Last week against the Indianapolis Colts was the first display of Webb’s being ready to assume a role in the pass defense once again. The return of Webb is timely because Asa Jackson, the Ravens other primary nickel corner went down with a severely sprained toe. The Ravens put Jackson on injured reserve with a return designation and signed free agent Dominique Franks.

The injury bug isn’t the biggest story out of Baltimore. A lot is being made about rookie linebacker C.J. Mosley’s play in the Colts game. Mosley was able to record 14 tackels, an interception and a pass breakup. Mosley was also responsible for laying a hit on Andrew Luck that resulted in an interception by Haloti Ngata. The ability to make plays all over the field was once again something that made Mosley standout. He has shown that he can blitz the inside gaps and patrol the second level of the defense, making plays from sideline to sideline.

The 14 tackle performance was the second most by a Ravens rookie linebacker. Ray Lewis had the most as a rookie with 16 tackles. Mosley’s performance against the Colts caused Webb to say that he reminded him of Ray Lewis. The Ravens will travel to Tampa to face the Buccaneers on Sunday. They’ll need another superb performance from Mosley to contain running back Doug Martin and former Ravens running back Bobby Rainey.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals got a scare in practice this week as A.J. Green reaggravated a toe injury from the season opener. Green went down during practice on Wednesday and was visibly bothered. The training staff carted Green off of the field and Green let out a loud sigh as he passed by the media en route to the Bengals facility. Not having the ability to push off of his big toe robs him of his explosion. Despite the injury, Green has been accountable for two of the Bengals five receiving touchdowns this year.

Green had an MRI done and the Bengals are hoping that the results will come back favorably. Coley Harvey of posted this tweet about Green and the possibility that he plays:

Another receiver that is looking to overcome the injury bug is Marvin Jones. Jones was the answer to the teams that double teamed Green last year. Mohamed Sanu has been playing well but Jones feasted on the single coverage that he was presented with as a result of being opposite of Green. Jones was on the did not practice list and is questionable for the game against the Carolina Panthers.

Cleveland Browns Joe+Haden+Baltimore+Ravens+v+Cleveland+Browns+_HOyWLYUp5Ux

Joe Haden is trying to make it through a hip injury. The Browns coaching staff is optimistic about Haden returning for their next game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Buster Skrine and Justin Gilbert will see the bulk of the action if Haden isn’t reay to go. The Browns will need Haden if they plan on slowing down Antonio Brown and the Steelers passing attack.

On a brighter note, the Browns are coming off of a game in which they registered the biggest road comeback in NFL history against the Tennessee Titans. Brian Hoyer is playing really well and has shown why the coaching staff hasn’t thought about giving it all over to Johnny Manziel. Hoyer and the offense will go against the Steelers for the second time. These two teams met during the first week of the season. That game was the start of the Browns numerous comeback attempts.

This team is never out of a game. They showed that in three of the four games that they have played. They came back and made the season opener a respectful game after being behind by as many as 21 points. The Browns also made a serious run at the Saints in a game that they won at home. The team has adapted the “no quit” mentality.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers fortunately have not been hurt with the injury bug this week but they do have a player that made his first start since suffering a major injury two years ago. Linebacker Sean Spence got his first start last week.

Spence was struck with an injury to his knee that caused many to believe that he would not be able to play again. He refused to quit as he rehabbed the knee throughout his comeback. The discipline and courage that Spence showed while he was working his way back inspired his teammates to vote for him to be the  2014 recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award. This award is presented every year to a Steelers player who has fought back from an injury or tough circumstances to return to the field.

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