AFC North – Everything is about to change

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

Let’s face it – the AFC North was a hot mess last year! With Le’Veon Bell sitting out, the once-dominant Pittsburgh Steelers had to root for the Cleveland Browns in Week 17 in order to make the playoffs.

The Baltimore Ravens benched quarterback Joe Flacco and began the new era of Lamar Jackson football. Can Jackson keep being the leading rusher for this team and avoid injury?

The Cincinnati Bengals landed at the bottom of a division where the Browns had held that spot for too many years to count. But the once 0-16 Browns, under the leadership of rookie QB Baker Mayfield, are making their case to take over the division.

Let’s take a team-by-team look at the moves they’ve made so far to get ready for the battle to be “Kings of the North.”

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NFL Free Agent Frenzy – who made a splash?

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

The first day of the NFL’s “Free Agent Frenzy” period is over and a few teams made quite a splash. And even though free agency hasn’t truly started, the legal tampering period has brought some great news to some teams.

This is the time of year where Armchair Experts try to predict what their teams will do and are filled with either excitement over signings or depression when their team isn’t as active as they think they should be.

While the drama surrounding the trade of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown to the Oakland Raiders took a lot of the focus over the weekend, Monday’s free agent activity brought us all back into the mix.

The Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions made the loudest noise in adding talent to struggling teams. Their fanbases seem to be really excited about the possibilities these new players bring, but they aren’t the only teams who were active yesterday.

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2019 NFL Combine: Kentucky isn’t just a “basketball school”

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8 

I’m one of those people who tends to put college athletic programs into buckets based on which sport they are really good at or known for. To me, Kentucky has always been a “Basketball School.” And for good reason, right?

However, this year’s NFL Scouting Combine has given me a new appreciation for what’s going on with their football program.

They finished last season with an impressive 10-3 record and have eight players participating in Combine activities, including a player who may be the top Edge Rusher in this year’s draft, Josh Allen.

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2019 NFL Combine: how do the defensive linemen measure up?

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

Day 4 of the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine brings the defense to the forefront. Defensive Lineman, Edge Rushers and Linebackers took their turn at the 40-yard dash, bench press and other drills.

Many fans have been anticipating Nick Bosa‘s return to the field after suffering an injury last fall that ended his season at the Ohio State University. Kentucky’s Josh Allen has been the talk of draft pick trade rumors all week as teams discuss making moves up the board to get him. Were Montez Sweat‘s (Missouri) amazing numbers enough to propel him into the top ten?

Let’s take a look at these three positions and how the top prospects / performers graded out. It’s up to you to decide how these times / scores should be used in conjunction with film to decide which one works best for your team! Complete stats can be found HERE on the NFL website.

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2019 NFL Combine: QBs, WOs and TEs

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

Ok, so the first thing I learned at the NFL Combine is that they call Wide Receivers… Wide Outs. Frankly, I’m not sure why. They all SAY the words “wide receiver” when talking about them, but the official literature calls them “wide outs.”

The second thing I learned is that you have to be really (REALLY) quiet at the workouts in Lucas Oil Stadium. ZERO tolerance for noise, clapping, anything that might distract the players from having their best results. With over 6,000 fans in attendance, the stadium workers were kept pretty busy policing the crowd.

All-in-all, it was an amazing experience for me today to see first-hand what these young men were going through. While the TV gives you an up-close perspective, the sights and sounds of being in that stadium must be experienced in person.

Today it was all about Quarterbacks, Tight Ends, and Wide Outs. Let’s take a look at who the top performers were in each category.

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2019 NFL Combine: EDGE Rushers

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

This weekend, all eyes in the football world are on the NFL Combine taking place in Indianapolis.

300 College players were invited to participate in drills and get measured so that Top Executives, Coaching Staffs, Player Personnel Departments and Medical Personnel from all 32 NFL teams can evaluate them. These players are all hoping to make a good impression this weekend so that, along with their game film, will get them drafted into the NFL in April.

I spent some time this afternoon talking with a few of the defensive linemen that are here for the Combine and will be working out tomorrow.

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“Survey says, …” TWT: Let’s talk Combine

OTFB Reporter

By Liz Panucci // @PanucciLiz

If you love stats, then the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine is for you. It’s all about pounds, inches, and speed. The 40-yard dash, in particular.

These faces are the up-and-coming stars of the NFL, maybe even your team. Each player has a story on how he got to be here for the ‘Biggest Interview of his Life’. Watch the interviews, scan your Twitter timeline and get to know these talented, confident, and maybe a little nervous, young men.

Lisa Johnson shares what’s abuzz as we head into the chaos of this event in her Get to know the Top 10 NFL Combine Prospects. Plus, our very own Kate Arhar is reporting live from Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis this weekend. Stay tuned daily @ourturffb for updates.

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Being a woman and an NFL fan

Sonja Greenfield, Detroit Lions Reporter

By Sonja Greenfield // @Mom23RN

It’s not easy being a female sports fan.  More specifically, a female football fan.

On Monday, it was announced that the Cleveland Browns signed former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt. To refresh our memory, Hunt was released by the Chiefs back in November for domestic violence allegations.  He was caught on camera kicking a woman in a hotel. Though he still potentially faces disciplinary action from the League, as of today, he’s a Cleveland Brown.

My husband once told me, “I don’t know how you can be a woman and still like the NFL.”  Ummm…wow.  That hurt a little bit. But he’s right. (And no, this isn’t the first time I’ve acknowledged that he’s right, BTW)

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Conflicted feelings on Cleveland signing RB Kareem Hunt

Kate Arhar
Kate Arhar Senior Sports Editor

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

During a season in which the Kansas City Chiefs had great expectations of going to the Super Bowl, a video surfaced to show star running back Kareem Hunt in an altercation with a woman at a hotel in Cleveland last Spring. In the video, he is seen hitting and kicking her. The backlash from this incident caused the NFL to suspend him indefinitely and the Chiefs to release him.

Yesterday, Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey announced that they had signed Hunt. Frankly, my reactions have varied since I heard this news. I needed time to gather my thoughts, rein in my emotions, and sleep on it before I could put words down on paper.

Today, my thoughts are clearer, but no less conflicted. Hunt’s behavior in that Cleveland hotel is completely unacceptable. Everyone should be able to have a second chance to make up for their past, but WHY oh WHY does it have to be the Browns that give him that chance?

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Bengals, Dolphins hire head coaches from Super Bowl LIII teams

Kate Arhar
Senior Sports Editor

By Kate Arhar // @ClvlndK8

Now that the Super Bowl is over, the last two open head coaching positions in the NFL have been filled.

The Cincinnati Bengals announced that Zac Taylor will be their new head coach. Taylor was the quarterbacks coach for the Los Angeles Rams.

The Miami Dolphins announced that Brian Flores will be their new head coach. Flores was the linebackers coach and defensive play caller for the New England Patriots.

It would appear that the Bengals will be focusing on offense this season, while the Dolphins are looking for defensive strength to help them finally top the Patriots in the AFC East.

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