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Random Thoughts from a Wasted Mind

Dale Galbraith is happy that Brian Billick is mad. Aren't you?<P><I>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 <A HREF="https://secure.scout.com/a.z?s=149&p=5&c=18">Contact Us</A> link to ask us about it!</I></P>


Billick is mad and I'm glad

It seems that Phil Savage has Raven's head coach Brian Billick chirping by recently signing restricted free agent running back Chester Taylor to an offer sheet. The Ravens decided to match the offer forcing them to pay $3 million for Jamal Lewis' backup. If Lewis' prison rehab goes as planned and he stays healthy in 2005, Taylor will be used on special teams and to give Lewis a breather, making him highly overpaid. Taylor most likely would have been in a Browns' uniform this season if the Ravens' other back Musa Smith was not rehabbing a severely broken leg.

I can't believe this rustled Billick's feathers. It was a smart move by Savage to improve the Browns. The Browns would have received a back with great potential in exchange for a sixth round pick in the draft.

Billick is mad and isn't that just too bad. Consider it minor payback for unmercifully running up the score to  41-9 against the Browns at the Cleveland Brown Stadium in 1999. I can still remember his evil smirk in the post game interview. Hopefully Romeo Crennel and team can pluck all his feathers and stuff his butt with two goose eggs this year. 


Players changing colors in the AFC North

There have been many players in the NFL changing teams through trades and free agency so far this off-season. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the players lost and gained by the AFC North teams to this date. I did not include players resigned by their respective teams. Those players were there last year and won't change the team's dynamics. I also did not include any players that were cut from their respective teams that have not signed with a new team. Many times a team will resign a player to a lower salary after that player has been cut and discovers his value in free agency.


Cleveland Browns

Players lost Players gained
QB Kelly Holcomb CB Gary Baxter
OL Damion Cook NT Jason Fisk
LB Barry Gardner  LB Matt Stewart
DB Lewis Sanders G Joe Andruzzi
DT Gerard Warren G Cosey Coleman
SS Robert Griffith P Kyle Richardson
LB Kevin Bentley QB Trent Dilfer
CB Anthony Henry  
QB Jeff Garcia  
OT Joaguin Gonzalez  

The Browns have been the most active team in the AFC North during "NFL March Madness."  All seven players signed will improve the team. It would have been nice to have both Dilfer and Holcomb. But if I had to choose between the two quarterbacks I would take Dilfer because he has more starts on his resume. The Browns will miss Robert Griffith's veteran leadership at the strong safety position. He was on the field for every defensive snap and led the team in tackles in 2004. But he can't have too much fuel left in his tank which is not good for a team that is rebuilding. Gary Baxter is a more physical corner than Anthony Henry but Henry does a bit better in coverage. Damion Cook and Lewis Sanders would have added much needed depth if they could have been resigned.    


Baltimore Ravens

Players lost Players gained
CB Gary Baxter  CB Samari Rolle
LB Edgerton Hartwell OG Keydrick Vincent
WR Travis Taylor WR Derrick Mason
C Casey Rabach  

Samari Rolle replaces Gary Baxter in an already talented Ravens' defensive backfield. They won't miss a beat there. Losing Edgerton Hartwell will hurt the Ravens a little bit on the defensive side of the ball. Especially if they can't sign T..J. Slaughter who was a backup in 2004 and is also a free agent. The Ravens defense is talented enough to overcome a few turnovers in the starting line-up. Derrick Mason is a vast improvement over Travis Taylor. Kyle Boller has to be ecstatic. It looks like Mike Flynn will be at center next year replacing Casey Rabach that is a definite downgrade.


Cincinnati Bengals               

Players lost Players gained
P Kyle Richardson DL Bryan Robinson
LB Frank Chamberlin  

There is nothing too exciting happening in the "Jungle." They have lost a punter Kyle Richardson who was on injured reserve and Frank Chamberlin who played on special teams.  They have signed Bryan Robinson  a defensive lineman who is on the backside of his career to add depth to the rotation. Looks like the Bengals are willing to sit pat and improve their team with the draft. 


Pittsburgh Steelers               


 
Players lost Players gained
OG Keydrick Vincent WR Cedrick Wilson
LB Kendrell Bell  
OT Oliver Ross  
NT Kendrick Clancy  
WR Plaxico Burress  

The Steelers lost the starting right side of their offensive line with the departure of Keydrick Vincent and Oliver Ross. That has to hurt the chemistry of the unit. Kendrick Clancy was a solid backup at nose-tackle. The often injured Kendrell Bell won't be missed. The Steelers lost Plaxico Burress and replaced him with Cedrick Wilson at wide receiver. That is a downgrade. It should be noted though that Burress is not the player he thinks he is. As long as the Steelers have Hines Ward they will be fine at the wide receiver position.    


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