We've been hearing the following whispers from around the AFC North:
• Browns CB Eric Wright hasn't played to the high standard he set a season ago. He has been beaten in one-on-one in coverage. His tackling has been a weakness, one that stood out most glaringly when he failed to take down Jets WR Santonio Holmes on the receiver's game-winning TD in Week 10. Wright has insisted he has not lost confidence, but we're told he perhaps has lost a little of his swagger. Observed defensive coordinator Rob Ryan: "He's struggled, and obviously everything is magnified out there, especially when you put him in man coverage. Things go for touchdowns instead of a four-yard run; they don't notice a guy missing a play like that. He's still a fine football player; there's no question. He has to work on his technique. He's up there with (DB coach Jerome Henderson) all of the time, getting coaching points and working and studying tape. ... The young man is trying as hard as he can to work through it."
• Ravens CB Lardarius Webb has struggled somewhat after a promising start to the season, but we hear Baltimore remains high on him, and there's a sense he could develop into the team's best corner in time. Webb is less than a year removed from a major knee injury and is only in his second NFL season, so the best could be yet to come for him.
• The progress of Bengals rookie DT Geno Atkins bears monitoring down the stretch. Atkins had an impressive preseason, flashing some intriguing ability as a pass rusher, and he appears to have a bright future. Like fellow rookie Carlos Dunlap, he's vying for a bigger role in the years to come.