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