Wake-up: Dalton not worried about critics

January, 8, 2013
1/08/13
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Just a heads up, you can expect to see more posts this week on the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns than the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals. That's just the reality of the situation. The Ravens are in the playoffs and the Browns are in a coaching search. Once the offseason gets in full swing, namely free agency and the draft, there will be more balance in terms of posts. Thanks for understanding. Here's your wake-up call ...

RAVENS: Baltimore moved quarterback Joe Flacco out of the pocket more against the Indianapolis Colts, which is why he was only sacked once and hit twice. It's a strategy that they might use against a Denver Broncos team that sacked Flacco three times last month. "Whenever you have great edge pass rushers, you need to move the pocket," coach John Harbaugh said, via The Baltimore Sun. "They have been working hard on that, whether it's stepping up in the pocket making plays or stepping outside and making plays when the pass rushers lose contain and then keeping the play alive and trying to make some throws while he's doing that. Joe can run. He's faster than people think." The Ravens also released linebacker Sergio Kindle, their top pick in the 2010 draft, off their practice squad.

BENGALS: Andy Dalton isn't worried about the criticism after a second straight poor performance in the playoffs. “Not that we’re satisfied where we’re at, but we went to the playoffs in my first two years that I was here. That’s something that hasn’t happened in 30 years," Dalton said, via The Cincinnati Enquirer. “To go from 4-12 before I got here to 9-7 and now 10-6, we’re getting better and going to be better next year.” As I wrote Monday, it's valid to question whether Dalton is a franchise quarterback. The 2013 season is shaping up to be a big one for Dalton.

STEELERS: The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Alan Robinson offers 10 ways to fix the Steelers. High on his list is to find a way to stay healthier. Some suggestions include making sure safety Troy Polamalu stays slimmer in the offseason and getting linebacker LaMarr Woodley's hamstrings in shape. “I think winning eight games with all the injuries they had is almost mind-boggling, to do as good as they do,” former Redskins and Texans general manager Charley Casserly told the paper. “To me, the No. 1 issue with this team was being decimated by injuries.”

BROWNS: The Plain Dealer reported that it's unclear whether the Browns will go after big-name coaches like Alabama's Nick Saban in the team's rebooted search. According to the paper, no sources close to the search have scoffed at speculation that the Browns will go after Saban, who led Alabama to their third national championship in four seasons. The Browns are reportedly set to interview Colts offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and CFL coach Marc Trestman. The Browns' meeting with Trestman will happen at some point, but it didn't occur Monday as previously reported by ESPN Radio in Cleveland.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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