AFC Team Notes

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Baltimore: DT Haloti Ngata is coming off a two-sack game in which he saw snaps at nose tackle as the Ravens search for ways to beef up the pass rush. "We've got to get pressure up that middle, especially with Terrell Suggs being gone," said Ngata. "We've got to get to that quarterback and make it easier for our guys in the secondary."

Baltimore (alternative): LT Bryant McKinnie restructured his contract to stay with the team, but that didn't prevent the Ravens from sliding Michael Oher into McKinnie's starting role and inserting rookie Kelechi Osemele at right tackle. "I knew this was happening," McKinnie said. "I'm taking it fine. It's definitely a long season. I just have to do what I'm supposed to do. I'm a team player."

Buffalo: DT Marcell Dareus left the team to return to Birmingham, Ala. after learning his younger brother, 19-year-old Simeon Gilmore, was a victim in a triple homicide in Pelham, Ala. on Sunday. "He has a lot on his plate, to say the least," said Bills coach Chan Gailey. "I talked with him this morning and I think he will be back for Sunday's game."

Cincinnati: Former Bengals DE Frostee Rucker returns to Cincinnati this week as a member of the Browns, who named him a captain for Sunday's game. "I know what it's going to be like. I know how old Paul Brown gets rocking," Rucker said. "Those guys are my good friends and I'm looking forward to playing them."

Cleveland: Without suspended CB Joe Haden, Browns coach Pat Shurmur declined to say whether Sheldon Brown or Dimitri Patterson will shadow Bengals WR A.J. Green or they will maintain their spots. On nickel packages, Patterson will slide to the slot with Buster Skrine outside. "Scheme-wise, you're always flexible," Shurmer said of how the Browns will cover Green. We'll hold our plan until game day."

Denver: FS Rahim Moore knows a fine might be coming following his hit on Steelers WR Emmanuel Sanders on Monday that drew a 15-yard penalty. "It was an aggressive play; it was a bang-bang play, something the league obviously is trying to cut back on," said Broncos coach John Fox. "It happens. It's a fast game and it wasn't intentional. We try to avoid those as much as possible."

Houston: RB Arian Foster left Wednesday's practice early, but it wasn't related to the leg injury that bothered him last week. Coach Gary Kubiak said there is a bug going around the locker room that has also affected CB Jonathan Joseph. Foster is expected to play Sunday.

Indianapolis: OL Trai Essex was only signed Monday but could be in the starting lineup this week if RT Winston Justice (concussion) can't go due to Essex's history with offensive coordinator Bruce Arians and offensive line coach Harold Goodwin in Pittsburgh. "He knows the offense. He knows the calls so he's a plug in guy," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. "He also gives you great versatility. He's played all five spots in the past so he can play inside, he can play outside."

Kansas City: S Eric Berry has indicated he felt the hit from Bills WR Stevie Johnson that tore his ACL in Week 1 last season was a dirty play, but coach Romeo Crennel downplayed any notion of Sunday being a "revenge" game at Buffalo. "I don't believe so. Last year is last year and this year is this year," Crennel said. "We need to focus on this year and trying to get better and trying to win the game."

Kansas City (alternate): OLB Tamba Hali returned to practice following his one-game suspension, and coach Romeo Crennel said just his presence is important. "I think the way he approaches the game and the way he plays down-in and down-out, that impacts the guys around him because I think they want to play up to the level that he plays," Crennel said. "If we can get guys playing up to the level that he plays, then you can lift the team."

N.Y. Jets: CB Darrelle Revis passed his baseline concussion tests and was cleared for physical activity, but he was held out of Wednesday's practice. His availability for practice the rest of the week and for Sunday's game against Pittsburgh remains uncertain. Revis was accidentally kicked in the helmet by teammate Bart Scott in the Week 1 victory over Buffalo.

Oakland: The Raiders want to utilize RB Darren McFadden in a variety of roles, but coach Dennis Allen is also concerned about keeping his feature back fresh with McFadden coming of a 33-touch game with the other backs combining for just five. "We'll continue to evaluate that situation as we go throughout the season," Allen said. "We're going to have to get some other touches for some of the other backs so we can keep Darren healthy."

Pittsburgh: RB Rashard Mendenhall was a full participant in Wednesday's practice after being held out of the opener as he continues to recover from knee surgery. ... Jets backup QB Tim Tebow didn't attempt a pass in Week 1, but Steelers coach Mike Tomlin expects to see more wrinkles from the Wildcat this week. "I know that we better be prepared for more than what I saw him do in the game on Sunday," Tomlin said. "That wasn't very different from what was done in Miami with the likes of Pat White, Rodney Brown, or others. Obviously, he's a capable passer. That's an element of it that we need to be prepared for."

San Diego: Coach Norv Turner wants to see more out of his running game, which averaged just 1.6 yards per carry Monday night. But with a rookie left tackle and still waiting for the return of RB Ryan Mathews from a broken clavicle, the Chargers are relying heavily on the short passing game. "We're not as consistent as we need to be," Turner said of the running game.