If the NFL starts on the right foot, the AFC North Division might be as deep as ever, certainly featuring the best crop of quarterbacks from top to bottom.
Baltimore has reigning MVP Lamar Jackson, Pittsburgh will find out if Ben Roethlisberger has recovered from his injury and surgery, while Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield and Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow will battle it out in the first of many times as they each fight for supremacy in the conference.
A viewer on my television show recently asked whether Mayfield or Burrow will turn out to be the better quarterback. The answer is pretty simple as long as you don’t mind me hedging my bet.
Burrow has more size and understanding of the position, better than Mayfield, who is now working under his fourth head coach and a yearly revamping of the offense. If Cincinnati’s wideouts are healthy, they may have the best receiving corps in the NFL. That’s the good news for them. The bad news is that if everybody on the offensive line shows up healthy, it won’t help them much, because they are not very good. However, Burrow has the ability to make things happen and could pull out some wins by himself.
So too, can Baker, who showed flashes of that ability in his rookie season. While I just said that Cincinnati might have the best receiving corps, the Browns are not far behind. They have added at least three starting offensive linemen and with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, the Willoughby South High School standout, the Browns might have the best running game in the NFL. They have added tight ends and a fullback, which will make it hard for defensive coordinators to prepare for them.
The bottom line is Mayfield should have a better year, but as of now, I expect Burrow to string together a better career.
BOBBLES AND ERRORS: Some incorrect information appeared in my Aug. 28 story about the Adelmans becoming a three-generation family in the Beachwood Men’s Softball League. Larry Adelman is one of the four commissioners and has served in that position since 2011. Also, the league was founded in 1954 and now has 130 members. Apologies to the other commissioners. You can read the column at bit.ly/2YQ5Ysy.