Random Thoughts from a Wasted Mind

Dale offers some Friday random, yet-Browns oriented, commentary

I need a fix.

It appears that the Browns will open Training Camp on July 24 for rookies with the veterans reporting July 29. Those dates are being reported at the NFL website. The Browns have made no formal announcement.

That gives me a month to explore other sports in search of that fix to quench my cravings. But like years past I will probably go into withdrawals until those beautiful orange helmets once again glisten in the sun. 

I am at best a casual baseball fan so I'll keep tabs on the Indians. But, Tribe baseball just doesn't get me foaming at the mouth the way Browns football does. There are so many games played in a season leaving no intensity on game day until the playoffs.

The same goes for the Cavs. So I won't be sitting on the edge of my seat awaiting the next turn in the Larry Brown saga.

I'll probably watch some auto racing. Though, I have taken any Formula One event off my list of viewing possibilities after the recent debacle in Indianapolis.

The next four weeks might be a good time to plan a vacation. I was thinking about a trip to Baltimore with a stop in Pittsburgh with the sole purpose of spraying "You Suck" with Round-Up on the lawns of Cowher and Billick. The upside is I may be looked upon as a folk hero in the eyes of many Browns' fans. The down side is I might become the significant other of an incarcerated Ravens' player. Now, that I've thought it through I better keep to myself where I'm amongst friends.

No news is good news

This is also the time for the players to relax before the grueling two-a-days start. For at least fifty-three players, Training Camp is just the beginning of very long season. Hopefully it will be a time free of Browns' headlines involving the words drugs, alcohol, guns, and domestic violence. I realize that these are issues that plague society and athletes are a part of society. I just hope that the Browns' management and players have been proactive enough to avoid these embarrassments. I also wish for an accident free period for all the players. Once is enough to travel down that road or should I say parking lot.

Offensive talk

Now is a good time to take a look at where the Browns are in talent. This week I'll focus on the offense. That will give me something to do next week when I look at the defense. Whew! Now I only have to worry about three weeks without Browns football. 

Quarterbacks - Trent Dilfer can win football games but he is not a franchise type quarterback. The recent signing of Doug Johnson as his back up doesn't ease my mind significantly. But experience is better than no experience. Charlie Frye and Josh Harris will compete for the third spot in the fourth quarter of exhibition games and on the practice field. The best thing that can happen for the Browns is that the winner only holds a clipboard in the regular season. For the record my money is on Frye. 

Running Backs - If Lee Suggs can stay healthy, Reuben Droughns stays in camp and William Green remains focused, the Browns could very well have one of the best running back corps in the NFL. It will be up to the coaching staff to keep them all happy and get the most out of the unit. That is a nice problem to have. Injuries or not being able to overcome ego will be the only way these three backs don't make the team. I don't see the Browns keeping more than three backs.     

Offensive Line - There are not enough positive adjectives to describe the way Phil Savage has addressed the offensive line during the off-season. The addition of Joe Andruzzi and Cosey Coleman solidifies the guard position. Not letting Ross Verba be a distraction by signing L. J. Shelton to take his place shows that Savage always has a plan and does not panic. I applaud the move. Shelton needs to spend the next four weeks with strength coach John Lott getting that 6-6 frame in football shape before I stand up and cheer the move. If Ryan Tucker can stay healthy there are not many better at the right tackle position. Jeff Faine should hold his own at center. If not, he'll be the next Davis' number one to go. I see Marcus Spears and Melvin Fowler as than the only back ups with a sure roster spot. The remaining back up positions will be decided in camp.    

Wide Receivers - Braylon Edwards has not caught a pass in the NFL nor is he listed as a starter due to the lack of practice time. Both will change by the time the Browns meet the Bengals in the home opener on September 11. Antonio Bryant, Andre Davis, and Dennis Northcutt are the only other wide receivers etched in stone. That leaves two to three spots to be determined in camp.

Tight Ends - Kellen Winslow Jr. has played in only two games in a Browns uniform. Until he plays a full season, it cannot be said how the Browns miss his talent. Hopefully for all involved his full talent will be unleashed in 2006. Steve Heiden and Aaron Shea are more than competent tight ends, but their problem in the past has been staying healthy. If they do, the Browns should be fine. I anticipate seeing a lot of double tight end sets by the Browns this year. Therefore there will be at least one if not two roster spots decided in the heat of summer.

Fullback - The Browns will keep only one fullback. I have selfish reasons that Terrelle Smith makes the team. He is Mrs. G's favorite player and I don't want his jersey I bought for her last Christmas to become obsolete. Besides I love the attitude he brings on Sunday.

One player already on the bubble

The Browns must have their roster at eighty players by the start of Training Camp. NFL Europe players get a roster exemption. Kellen Winslow Jr. will be placed on the Non Football Injury List and Keith Heinrich in all likelihood will be placed on the Physically Unable to Perform List. By my count there are still ninety-one players on the active roster, ten of which played in Europe. That means one player is on the early bubble.

Island fun 

Roy Steunenberg of the Erie Islands Browns Backers at Put-in-Bay, Ohio has informed Wasted Mind that they will be holding their Second Annual Charity Rib Burn Off.  The two-day event will take place on South Bass Island. The activities start on Saturday, June 25, from 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. then continues Sunday at 2:00 p.m. All profits will be donated to Cleveland Browns' Charities and a few charities on the Islands. The Browns have committed to have a player or players on hand to sign autographs and have photos taken with the fans. An Antique Car Parade with a Browns theme is one of the activities planned. The parade will include the "Mobile Dawg Pound"which is Tony Schaefer's famous tailgating bus. Big Dawg and Bone Lady will also be in attendance. The weather should be great so fire up the old hot rod and travel out to the Islands for some ribs and fun.

Not so prime time

It has been announced that the NFL Network will broadcast the Browns preseason game with the Lions live on Saturday, August 20, at 1:00 p.m. EDT.

A Raven is the victim of a crime

Baltimore Ravens rookie linebacker Tyson Smith recently had his play book stolen from his mother's car. Rumor has it the thief was dressed in orange and brown and wearing a dawg mask. Fragments of animal bone were found amongst the pieces of the car window that was smashed to gain entrance. The police have it narrowed down to 73,200 suspects.

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