Status quo

After spending a week getting some R&R, it's time to check in with a few random thoughts.

A couple of weeks into the free agency period seemed like the perfect time to take a little vacation time.

Little did I know that while I was walking … and walking … and walking around the various Orlando theme parks, all hell was breaking loose in Pittsburgh.

The Pittsburgh Steelers went crazy writing checks during the past week, signing Arnold Harrison, Trai Essex, Anthony Madison AND Fernando Bryant. Did I miss anybody else?

I know director of football operations Kevin Colbert told me at the Super Bowl that when you have a Super Bowl-caliber team, you want to keep it together, but this is a little crazy.

I expected many of those players to re-sign – OK, Bryant was a bit of a surprise – but when you're three weeks into free agency and the biggest signings the team can announce are Chris Kemoeatu getting a new deal and Willie Colon placing his John Hancock on his tender offer, well, it's a little disheartening.

The losses haven't been too great, though I would have liked to have seen Bryant McFadden continue to progress as a cornerback. But other teams certainly seem to be getting better – see the New England Patriots for an example – while the Steelers are standing pat.

Adding at least one veteran offensive lineman to the mix for competition purposes would have been prudent.

At this point, the Steelers are banking on adding at least one or, quite possibly, two offensive linemen in the draft. And they've got to knock it out of the park with at least one of those picks.

Even with that, it won't solve the team's depth issues at wide receiver or cornerback.

Then again, center Justin Hartwig was signed late in the game after being released by Carolina in a cost-cutting move. Hartwig wasn't great last season, but he was certainly better than watching Sean Mahan struggle through another season.

© This is just a guess, but I'm betting the mystery investor that according to the Tribune-Review story will be a "very recognizable name," may already have some ties to football.

In fact, he might be ready for some football if all his rowdy friends are as well.

© The Ravens are mixing and matching in free agency.

Their most interesting signing, though, may be the addition oft-injured tight end L.J. Smith.

Maybe they figure between Smith and the equally injury prone Todd Heap, they might actually have one decent tight end healthy for all 16 games next season.

© On the plus side, it appears the Cleveland Browns, just one season removed from giving the Steelers a run for their money in the AFC North are rebuilding once again.

Nice to see some things don't change.

© According to the Baltimore Sun this week, the Ravens have asked the league not to play in Pittsburgh during prime time.

The Steelers should return the favor but they won't.

When the schedule is released, the Steelers will be playing a full slate of prime time games. If the league had any guts, it would give the Ravens none – or at least none at home.

You don't want to play your biggest rival in prime time, you pay the price.

Dale Lolley appears courtesy of the Observer-Reporter.


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