Random Thoughts from a Wasted Mind

Dale Galbraith offers odds and ends from the cranium of a hard-core fan...

BerniesInsiders.com invites fans to serve as commentators if they feel they have something to say and can say it well on a weekly basis. Think you have what it takes? Use the Contact Us link to ask us about it!

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 stick.

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 signing him.  

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 a down.
  • P-QB Johnny Evans (1978-80) - He punted for a 39.5-yard average with the Browns

  • 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 clipboard.
  • 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 retires.   

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 burn.

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 my head.

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 request."

"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 program."

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 Browns football."

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.

Goodbye Courtney

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.

The OBR Top Stories