Dale Galbraith offers odds and ends from the cranium of a hard-core fan...
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So far so good
This has been the Browns' most active off-season since being reborn in
1999. They have brought in seven new players, only the Dolphins have signed
more with nine. I for one have always found this part of the year very
exciting. It is a time when optimism ranks supreme. This is the first year in
a long time that it looks like the Browns actually have a plan. In years past,
it appeared that they threw it against the wall and hoped that something would
Guards Joe Andruzzi and Cosey Coleman are a vast improvement over any of
the names the Browns penciled in at the position last year. Hopefully Jeff Faine will benefit from having veterans flanking him on both sides. It is
nearly impossible to keep all five starting offensive linemen healthy the
entire year, a fact that has plagued Browns year after year.
The only reliable back-up signed at the present time is Kelvin Garmon. It
is yet to be seen if Garmon's salary is conducive to that role. Resigning
Melvin Fowler and keeping him at center would improve the offensive line
depth. Resigning Damion Cook would have been a plus, but he recently signed a
one year deal with the Dolphins. There is a glaring need to find back-ups at
both tackle positions.
Quarterback Trent Dilfer is an improvement over the whining Jeff Garcia.
But Phil Savage needs to both bring in a veteran back-up quarterback and
establish the quarterback of the future. Luke McCown or Josh Harris may be the
future, but I won't mind throwing another young arm into the mix.
Just don't get him with the third pick. But, Alex Smith of Utah had a very
impressive Pro-day. He also performed extremely well in the Fiesta Bowl. It
will be very difficult for the Browns to pass on him if he is still on the
board come the third pick.
Last year I stated that the Browns would not miss Chris Gardocki. Boy, was
I wrong. Derrick Frost started out strong but evaporated as the season went
on. Welcome to Cleveland Kyle Richardson.
Cornerback Gary Baxter for Anthony Henry is a wash. Parcells appears to be
desperate to turn the Cowboy's around - I predict the Cowboys will be in
salary cap hell very soon. Henry is a good young player but I think he'll have
trouble justifying his pay with his play. The Browns need to add a veteran
safety. The tandem of Sean Jones and Chris Crocker is too inexperienced for my
liking. It will be interesting to see what role if any Earl Little will play
in Romeo Crennel's defense.
By my count, the Browns now have seven linebackers signed that aren't
currently playing in Europe. Signing free agent Matt Stewart from Atlanta
has greatly strengthened the linebacker corps. The fact that he grew up in
Columbus and is a Browns fan should make him an instant favorite with the
Dawg Pound. That being said, I am still having nightmares about this unit.
Now that Ravens inside backer Edgerton Hartwell has signed with the Falcons.
Savage must turn to the second layer of free agency and the draft to improve
this area of the team. I would like to see them go to camp with at least
twelve or more linebackers competing.
The Browns recently signed
nose-tackle Jason Fisk to a three-year deal. It is very impressive that he
has only missed one game in ten years due to injury. It appears he will
rotate with Orpheus Roye at nose-tackle. That leaves Alvin McKinley, Michael Myers, Amon Gordon and Nick Eason battling for the third spot this summer. I
can't see the Browns keeping more than three at the position.
I now have an additional nightmare. Defensive end was once a strong point
for the Browns. It is now a glaring weakness. The Browns have only three
players signed at the position. It is time for Phil Savage to get busy. The
only blue chip free agent out there is Baltimore's Marques Douglas.
Hopefully, Savage's history with Douglas will give the Browns an edge in
Lee Suggs is explosive but he hasn't been able to stay on the field. Now
that the Ravens have matched the Browns' offer to Chester Taylor ,it's back
to the drawing board for the Browns. It appears that the Browns are going to
give up on William Green being a premier back.
Anthony Thomas, Amos Zereoue, Antowain Smith, Ron Dayne, and Tyrone Wheatley are all unrestricted free agents. Signing one of these backs might
be a band-aid, but it won't fix the problem. If they were the answers, they
wouldn't be free agents.
It has also been rumored that the Browns may be trying to work out a
trade for Seattle's running back Shaun Alexander. Alexander is a great back.
But at this stage of rebuilding the Browns, I would hate to see them give up
draft choices. I wouldn't be disappointed if the Browns choose either
running backs Cedric Benson of Texas, or Ronnie Brown of Auburn, with the
third pick in this year's NFL Draft. Cadillac Williams from Auburn is also
in the mix if the Browns trade their pick down.
It has been a good start so far to the off-season. I am not concerned
that every player added, except NT Fisk, has played for either the Ravens or
Patriots. That is to be expected because they are absolutely sure about
those players. There is still much more work to be done to make the Browns
competitive in the AFC North. It appears that Phil Savage and staff have a
plan and that's refreshing.
Dilfer to wear #8
Ace Davis stated the following in a blog, "Trent Dilfer, the Browns' new
quarterback, wore 12 in Tampa, 8 in Baltimore, and 4 in Seattle. So I though
00 would be the logical next step. Well, turn that sideways, because Dilfer
has announced he will wear #8."
00 is also the symbol of infinity, or the amount of time it seems that
I've been waiting for the Browns to win a Super Bowl.
The only Browns to wear the #8 were:
- QB Gary Marangi (1977) - He was on the active roster but never played
- P-QB Johnny Evans (1978-80) - He punted for a 39.5-yard average with
- K Jeff Jaeger (1987) - He was brought in until Matt Bahr recovered fully
from a 1986 knee injury. He made 14 field goals out of 22 attempts.
- QB Brad Goebel (1992-94) - He completed 2 passes
in 3 attempts for 32 yards in 1992.
- QB Nate Hybl (2003) - He was great at holding a
- P Derrick Frost (2004-No more) Dilfer took the
shirt off his back.
Dilfer made an excellent choice. I can't remember ever seeing a fan
wearing a number eight jersey bearing the name of any of the players
mentioned above. That is sure to change in 2005. The question is how long
will we see fans wearing #8 Dilfer jerseys. Hopefully long after he
Spread my ash
Recently I underwent a medical procedure. Please don't send any flowers
but beer is never rejected. Though the surgery was minor, the thought went
through my wasted mind that nothing is a sure thing, except my everlasting
disdain for the Steelers and Ravens. So before the eventful day I expressed
to Mrs. G that when I go to that Dawg Pound in the sky, I want my ashes
spread over the Dawg Pound end zone at Cleveland Brown Stadium. I want to be
part of that hallowed ground where legends will hopefully soon play.
When I arrived at the center, I was given a garment bearing no Browns
logo and no instructions of how it went on. I did the best I could but the
only thing separating my naked behind and the cold world was two barely
fastened ties. It wouldn't be the first time I shot the moon to someone but
normally that is a sight reserved for fans of the opposing team.
Soon the doc came into my drape-enclosed cubicle to see how I was doing
and asked me if I had any questions. I requested that he make my scar read
"Go Browns." He shook his head in disbelief. Being a Colts fan, he could not
understand that kind of passion being felt for an NFL team.
Then the doc with the drugs entered the cubicle. I don't think his name
was Gonzo, but I forgot to ask. He said I would feel a pinch and then a
Soon I'm riding in an orange limo being chauffeured by the Browns' Elf. I
recognize the streets I'm in Berea. We pull up to the Cleveland Browns
Complex and CB, Chomps, TD, and Trapper are there to greet me. The GE Smith
Band is covering Zeppelin songs in the lobby. They lead me to the cafeteria
and sit me down. There before me a giant plate of hot dogs garnished with
Stadium Mustard. Next to me is a Bud Light tap with a Browns mug bigger than
After getting a belly full I'm taken to the office of Browns' President &
C.E.O. John Collins
. He greets me at the door and shakes my hand. He instructs
me to have a seat and then takes his seat behind the desk.
He says, "I understand you want your ashes spread over the Dawg Pound when
the time comes."
I respond, "Yes, but I asked Top Dawg not to take me before the Browns win
a Super Bowl."
He replies, "We would feel privileged to honor your first wish. We also
want you to know we are working diligently on the second part of your
"How many Dawg bones will this set me back?" I asked with concern.
"Actually we are launching a Stadium Wake program to our fans. We hope the
program will enable us to keep ticket prices down for our fans that are still
barking. Being that you're the first fan to take part in the program it is on
the dawg house. But you must agree to let us use your name to promote the
My initial thoughts are to take advantage of this freebie. The offer far
surpasses all the game day handouts I've collected over the years. Then a
voice in the back of my head says, "Ask for more."
I looked dead into Collins eyes and demanded, "No deal, unless my surviving
family and friends can have a luxury suite for as long as there is Cleveland
Collins countered with, "Let's be reasonable. I can offer you ten lifetime
Dawg Pound seats."
I came back with, "It's a done deal if you also let D-Dawg bring back his
cow bell to represent my spirit."
"Done," he says as he reaches out his hand.
I feel a gentle nudge. I slowly open my eyes. I try to focus on my
surroundings. Everything is a little fuzzy.
"Welcome back," the nurse said to greeting back to reality.
It is quite possible that Courtney Brown
has played his last down as a
Cleveland Brown. Usually when a player leaves a team the fans of the team he
exited no longer root for him. That is not the case for Courtney Brown. Good
luck "Quiet Storm."
Places and faces
Jim Pyne the Browns first choice of the 1999 expansion draft has been hired
by the New Orleans Saints as an assistant offensive line coach.
It is being reported in New Orleans that Saints linebacker Cie Grant has a
chronic knee condition that may keep him from playing at the NFL level. Grant
was a key player for the Ohio State Buckeyes.
It appears that former Browns offensive lineman Qasim Mitchell will fight for
a back-up offensive line position next season for the Bears. It just shows that
you need more than size and speed to play in the NFL.
Former Browns third string quarterback Nate Hybl is trying to hang onto his
NFL dream. He recently signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Bill Belichick will not replace offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and will
take over the offensive side of the ball. Browns fans remember well the results
of Belichick calling the offensive plays in Cleveland. Bad news Patriots fans.
Your reign may be coming to an end.