Monday, May 21, 2007

Sophmore preview

On a weekend when the Akron Beacon Journal has NO Browns news, and the PD had essentially no Browns news (even if Grossi did manage to fill multiple pages not answering questions), Steve Doerschuk comes through again. In a nutshell: Savage says that he's looking for Isaac Sowells, Travis Wilson, and Jerome Harrison to step it up and win important roles for this season.

While that isn't anything new (although it is iteresting that he picked out those three, more on that below), I did find this blurb interesting:

"Jason Wright really is a backup who can play special teams. He's a great locker room guy, an A-plus in a lot of ways, but probably an average football player, which as a backup is OK.

Nothing too surprising, other than that the GM will be so blunt. I guess that means that Jason Wright's spot on the roster could be lost if Harrison comes on.

So why did Savage pick out those three? I doubt that he's going to cut too many of his 06 draft picks. He gaves his 05 picks two seasons, and the 06 crop in general was better, so they will probably get at least two. But these are proabably the guys closest to competing for a spot (as opposed to Leon Williams, D'Qwell Jackson, and Lawrence Vickers who already have spots), so that a little fire under them might get them putting forth that extra effort.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

They're probably both made in sweatshops, but. . .

If you buy a Steelers jersey, your money will go towards supporting child prostitution.

If you buy a Browns jersey, it will go towards giving kids college scholarships.

The choice is yours.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Does a spaghetti sauce stain show on an orange jersey?

Browns draft review, in Italian.

In case you are curious, Joe Thomas is:

La caratteristica migliore di Thomas è sicuramente la pass protection. Dotato di un hand punch micidiale, è capace di terrorizzare i Defensive Linemen sin dallo snap. Velocissimo nel prendere posizione nei giochi di passaggio. Buon bloccatore sui giochi di corsa. Futuro Probowler.

Huh. Go figure. Guess everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I prefer their take on Brady Quinn:

Muscolato, dotato di un braccio bionico, riesce a mettere la palla in spazi strettissimi con estrema accuratezza, anche sul profondo. Ottimo gioco di piedi, che gli permette di prendere tempo e di eludere i blitz. Estremamente competitivo e capace di attuare rimonte insperate anche in situazioni difficili (vedi quest’anno contro Michigan State, sotto la pioggia...). Ha bisogno di buona protezione della linea per realizzare il suo potenziale, ma ha questo ha già provveduto Phil Savage con gli acquisti di Steinbach e Thomas. Ha tutte le caratteristiche per ripercorrere le gesta di Bernie Kosar o Brian Sipe.

If only we could get Zampano to play on the Offensive line. Then we could have Quinn lining up behind Quinn.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Do you think the ladies would believe that I'm Ted Washington?

Hehe. . . Steelers fans are smrt. I mean, smart.

I a nutshell: This guy has convinced Pittsburgh women that he's Ben Roethlisberger, Brian St. Pierre, and Jermane Tuman, and then got them to buy him things.

I'm with the Steelers
By Justin Heckert
ESPN The Magazine

She could tell. But she couldn't bring herself to believe it, even though the pictures she examined led to very simple observations: that the man in the photo had a head that wasn't as square, for instance, and a nose that was longer and not bowed slightly to the right. And that his neck was stout but his jaw too strong. And she noticed that the face wasn't framed by an almost horizontal hairline, like the one on the man she knew, the hair thinning and brown instead of a black flattop, thick and gelled back.

This is what she thought, at first, that something was off, until he explained that pictures lie. Until he said the photographs of Steelers tight end Jerame Tuman that she found online were taken several years ago, when he arrived at training camp as a rookie with the features of a young man.

Weathering those seasons had changed him, he said, and he was insulted, even a bit embarrassed, that she doubted him.

Kristin* didn't have much to go on but the pictures. The Jerame Tuman she knew had a rounded stomach that fell below his waist, and arms and legs that weren't trim. But he was tall, so she slowly convinced herself that if he said he was an NFL tight end, then this is what an NFL tight end must look like. He had shown her a cell phone full of numbers, after all -- Jerome Bettis, Hines Ward, Ike Taylor -- and bragged about "his boys."

In the beginning, Kristin actually got a thrill from hanging out with him in the leather passenger seat of his white Denali, looking out the tinted windows as he navigated the nighttime traffic on the south side of the city, feeling the rap thrum from his extravagant speakers as he bounced in the driver's seat while speeding through red lights, saying, "Nobody in Pittsburgh is gonna arrest me, I'm a Steeler" -- because, well, she was with a Steeler.

And when he began to phone her twice a day to wish her good morning or to talk about the upcoming divorce from his wife, Molly, or the custody battle over his son, or to recount the sad story about his mother and his sickly uncle who raised him, she believed. And when he explained that he was changing his cell number every couple of weeks because he was "tired of dating this other girl on the side who only likes me for what I am, not who I am," she believed then, too.

Because she thought he was confiding in her, because he was one of her best friends, and because he was sweet. He once called a seven-year-old family friend to wish him a happy birthday; "How's my little buddy doing?" he asked. He couldn't wait to show her his Super Bowl ring, and promised her season tickets, neither of which he followed through on. And she trusted him because while he was at times vapid, he wasn't above revealing weakness. He once rang her at 4 a.m. to say, "I'm not married anymore. I'm 30. What am I doing with myself?"

Kristin was a good and interested friend; she often bought him lunch and made him dinner, though he always canceled and gave her excuses about being held up by appointments. She overlooked it when he invited her and her girlfriends out on the town, saying he and Hines would take care of the bill, but never showed. She gave him keys to her apartment, though he didn't let her see his.

When he told her he didn't have time to go to the mall to buy a new pair of shoes, she went for him and picked out a pair with a metallic silver swoosh on the side. And when he told her he lost his wallet, she lent him money. In fact, when he needed help paying rent for his "place on the waterfront," she obliged, believing him when he said his bank accounts had been frozen in the divorce.

When he needed quick cash to go on a trip with some teammates, she asked no questions. And when he told her he wanted rims for his SUV but couldn't use his credit card because he was about to start paying alimony, she covered him then, too. Over four months in 2006, she loaned him $3,200. And with each loan, he told her not to ask if he was good for the money, reminding her that he could get anyone else to help him if he wanted.

It is because of her generosity that Kristin has been blamed for being gullible, stupid, an outright imbecile even, in a very public way, in a town where you're not part of the conversation if you don't love the Steelers.

And though it is easy to stare at the same photos and wonder what she was thinking, it's also impossible to blame her -- he was that good. It wasn't until after he had, in Kristin's words, "fallen off the face of the earth" for a month and a half that she got pissed and sent a Hallmark card to the Steelers' training facility, addressed to Tuman, asking for her money back as soon as possible; she'd given him her savings and was living paycheck to paycheck.

Then, one day last August, Kristin, a tall, pretty woman with long, blond hair who majored in communications and anthropology at the University of Pittsburgh, was riding the bus home from work when she got a call from Steelers security director Jack Kearney. "I hate to break it to you," Kearney told her flatly. "But you've never met Jerame Tuman in your life."

Consider her surprise. Or humiliation. Consider her anger, if nothing else. If you don't live in Pittsburgh, the city at the confluence of steel-black rivers, a town that embodies its football team, you might empathize with Kristin. If you don't live where flags fly black and gold and the awnings of half the buildings bear the same industrial colors, where gift shops are stocked with candy and soda and Steelers commemorative hats, banners, shirts, baby clothes and not much else, you can probably understand, even as you find it hard to fathom.

But if you're from Pittsburgh, there's a good chance you're aware that Kristin was one of three women over two years who were fooled by a man named Brian Jackson, a 32-year-old former car salesman who moonlighted as Steelers tight end Jerame Tuman, third-string quarterback Brian St. Pierre, and most curiously, Ben Roethlisberger. And you might deride Kristin, and have a good laugh over a cold Iron City at her expense.

Even if you didn't know what Tuman looked like, you'd at least have been able to see that Jackson looked nothing like a football player. Pretty much, you'd have been smarter than she was.

"The Steelers are next to God here, so I don't see how someone impersonating one of them got away with it," says Anne Madarasz, director of the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum.

"Oh god, the women were that gullible?" says a woman browsing Steelers towels at Mike Feinberg Co. store, "The Official Home of Steeler Nation."

"Everyone thinks it's funny," says Mike Katic, a bartender at the Buckhead Saloon at Station Square. "I guess as long as the guy had the build of a football player ..."

It wasn't so funny for Tara*, a 24-year-old part-time model who thought she'd met Ben Roethlisberger at a local pizza shop. Two years ago, a big guy wearing a backward Steelers hat and khaki shorts had strolled up to the table where she and a friend were sitting and announced confidently that he thought she "was hot," before explaining how famous he was and which famous friends he wanted her to meet.

Tara and her friend ogled him over their slices, considering whether he was big or athletic enough to be a quarterback.

Though she didn't know it that day in July 2005, the guy she was staring at was really a middle-class man born and raised in Pittsburgh; a man who, Allegheny County courthouse records reveal, has a litany of traffic incidents, including one involving vehicular homicide, and who now has a July court date to face felony charges of identity theft and theft by deception for impersonating Tuman, and for stealing money from Kristin in the process.

Two days after Tara met him, she spent a few very awkward, if memorable, hours on a date with "Big Ben"; hours she'd like to undo. Their activities included traveling to the Steelers' training facility, where the security guard who never stops anyone waved at the faux quarterback, letting him through to attend to "some business" while Tara sat in the car; signing a Steelers jersey for Tara's giddy neighbor and posing for a photo; telling her about his dog, Zeus, over a dinner she ended up paying for because he left his wallet somewhere; and an uncomfortable encounter in which he tried to touch her hand and lean in for a kiss, which freaked her out, because she wasn't attracted to him anyway.

Brian Jackson's incredible story finally caught up with him.

Whispering recently from her bedroom because she's afraid her fiancé might hear, Tara says Jackson talked so much about himself as Roethlisberger that she barely got a word in. "He said he just got back from Miami, talked about his cars, about other players," she says. "He should be in prison, or in a mental hospital. I was leery, but hell, I didn't know. I didn't think he was telling the truth, but my friend thought I should give him a chance."

The day after the date, Tara's neighbor showed her a newspaper photo of Roethlisberger, and she quickly alerted the police and told Jackson never to call her again. But he persisted, demanding she return his calls and insisting on more dates. He had his friends call her, pretending to be Roethlisberger's friend or sister, to say Tara was breaking his heart. He sent her a signed football, which she has since destroyed.

Soon the story was out and she was the laughingstock of talk radio. "It was one of the worst parts of my life, and it wasn't even a full day," she says.

"Being portrayed as an idiot, it was awful." Her neighbor asked the team for a replacement Roethlisberger jersey. He never got it.

"When I heard about it, I laughed," says the real Big Ben. "It was kind of flattering. Then again, feelings were hurt and that isn't funny. But I hear all the time that 'someone at a bar is trying to be you.' It's because all people talk about in Pittsburgh is the Steelers. Me, I don't really care. But it made Jerame uneasy. He's happily married with a family."

It is fair to say Brian Jackson thrived on the attention; that his escapades were born not only of malicious conjuring, but of his fantasy. He was Jerame Tuman when he wore his black-and-gold hat askew, sometimes pulled down to mask his eyes, and he was Ben Roethlisberger in his T-shirts and thick-legged sweats, and the official pair of football gloves he wore, sometimes while he drove, as though he'd just come from a long and successful practice.

It is not supposition to say he felt comfortable when he dressed and acted the way he did, because his clothes and actions weren't part of a costume. His dreams had become his waking life. He was part of the team. It's what made him so convincing. He believed it was all real.

"He put almost incomprehensible thought into what he was doing," says prosecuting attorney Debra Barnisin-Lange. "He had an answer for any question that may have come up from the women. This type of scam is very embarrassing for the victims; several other women he did this to haven't come forward. It's the way all cons run. He said he was a Steeler, but in another instance someone might say, 'I won the lottery,' but they don't have a bank account to cash their check. Once you're in for a penny, you're in for a pound."

According to courthouse officials, he knew more than enough about the Steelers to work a room with tales of the team. Those familiar with the case say he had an encyclopedic, nearly obsessive knowledge of the men he said he was: he knew where they were born, where they went to school, what they drove, the names of parents and wives and children and pets. And he could recall a player's TV highlights as if living inside the moments of another man's life.

He regarded a woman he was trying to impress the same way an athlete might regard a trophy. According to the women, he was funny, at times charming and caring. He trolled the Strip downtown near the practice facility on weekends in his Denali or black Impala or blue Mustang, and ate lunch at Nakama, the sushi place frequented by Steelers during the season.

Jackson put himself amid the passing drunks in Steelers jerseys and among the women who packed the sidewalks by Primanti Bros. and Cottage Jewelry and Sunny's Fashions, with the clothing racks out front and the black-and-gold Pittsburgh City Paper boxes at their waists.

There were always more than enough fans around eager to celebrate in his presence. In the murk of a rowdy night, his sort-of-familiar face and confident stories -- Yeah, I'm waiting for Hines, he should be here any minute -- were truth enough.

"This city lives, eats, breathes Steelers," says detective Frances LaQuatra, a season ticket-holder. "They are always the news. The radio people get sick of talking about them all day, 12 months of the year. Working this case, I realized that when people hear something about the Steelers, they think, Why would someone lie about them?"

He was Brian St. Pierre. And he wooed Annie* with stories about teammates and autographed footballs for kids in her neighborhood. When he suggested she look for him on the sideline, during a game, on TV, she took him up on the offer. But when the camera showed the real St. Pierre, their relationship took a sudden turn.

After the game, she called him out as a liar and he called her "crazy" and, according to court documents, said she'd "be sorry" if she pressed charges. He even impersonated Roethlisberger in a phone call not long after, in which he vouched for himself as St. Pierre.

Then he followed her home in different cars and materialized wherever she went, which, frankly, scared her to death. That was at the end of 2004, and she still won't speak of him.

"She's moved on. I don't want her to relive it," says Annie's boyfriend. "She doesn't want to either."

Jackson didn't harass Kristin the way he did Annie or bother her the way he did Tara. No, one day he just went away. He stopped calling Kristin to say good morning or to ask for advice. He stopped picking her up at work so she could buy him fish sandwiches. When he changed cell phones, his old number was the last trace of a man who never existed.

She saved that number, and now it reminds her of that night in March 2006 when she was partying like everyone else on the south side and, after a few cocktails, had picked up her girlfriend's cell. She was interested and curious and -- football fan's curse -- attracted even though she'd never seen him.

Like it would be with a lot of people, she says, her desire to talk to him took control. She wanted to find out what he might say, because, "Who doesn't want to talk to a Steeler?" She left him a message that went something like, "So, what's up? My girl tells me you're a Steeler, so ..."

But Kristin isn't stupid. Maybe just a little naive.

Is it him? Well, yes, of course it's him, in a baggy gray hoodie and jeans that fall off his behind. He's been watching out the window of his redbrick house, the one with the unattached trailer in the front yard. He grudgingly opens the glass screen of his front door to greet the unwelcome company, and nearly slips when he steps on the porch.

He doesn't look so threatening as he clings awkwardly to the door frame. He looks like he hasn't slept, though, just as he looked when he turned himself in to Detective LaQuatra last year after Kristin came forward and his gig was up.

He groveled to LaQuatra that day: "I can't help myself, I really can't." And he doesn't sound so cocksure now, as he didn't when he called Kristin right before she pressed charges, to offer this rambling admission: "I just idolize these guys and what they do, and the attention they get from women, and I just want that for myself, and I don't think I can do it on my own and I just want to be them."

On this February morning, Brian Jackson just looks angry or nervous or both, like a man about to face felony charges who doesn't want to be bothered. As the sun hits his face, he stares off to the side, eyes bloodshot-red like kindling.

Are you Brian Jackson?

"No. I'm his brother," he says.

Well, is your brother home, then?


Do you think he'd want to talk about ...

"No, he wouldn't."

He's tall, all right, his head is square, his body sturdy. His voice is as heavy as lead, and standing in front of him, it is not only conceivable he could pass for a Steeler, but understandable, especially in a town that sanctifies the men who wear that uniform but are often unrecognizable without it.

This morning, the Denali with tinted windows is docked in the drive, without the rims. Taking a step back, Jackson shuts the screen door. He's not wearing his Steelers hat. But he does have on a nice pair of sneakers, with a metallic swoosh on the side.

* The victims names have been changed to protect their identities.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Now where do we put them?

I am a big fan of Ace Davis' blog. A couple times a year he throws together a comprehensive roster listing to project who will be around and who will be cut. I don't mean to rip him off, but I am a little anxious to be able to look at who we could expect to see suiting up come September, so I have gone through the exercise on my own:

Starter: Charlie Frye
Backups: Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson
Practice squad: None
Cut: Ken Dorsey

Starters: Jamal Lewis, Lawrence Vickers
Backups: Jerome Harrison, Jason Wright, Alan Ricard
Practice squad: Tyrone Moss
Cut: Charles Ali, Chris Barclay

Starter: Kellen Winslow
Backups: Steve Heiden, Darnell Dinkens
Cut: Ryan Krause, Buck Ortega

Starters: Joe Thomas, Eric Steinbach, Hank Fraley, Seth McKinney, Kevin Shaffer
Backups: Ryan Tucker, Isaac Sowells, Kelly Butler, Rob Smith
Practice squad: Rick Drushal
Injured Reserve: LeCharles Bentley
Cut: Andrew Hoffman, Pete Lougheed, Fred Matua, Brent Pousson, Scott Stephenson,Nat Dorsey, Lennie Friedman

Starters: Braylon Edwards, Joe Jurevicius
Backups: Travis Wilson, Josh Cribbs, Tim Carter
Practice squad:Syndric Steptoe
Cut: Kendrick Mosley, Steve Sanders, Mike Mason

Starters: Orpheus Roye, Ted Washington, Robaire Smith
Backups: Simon Fraser, Ethan Kelley, Babatunde Oshinowo, Shaun Smith
Practice squad:Melila Purcell
Cut: Orien Harris, J'vonne Parker, Alvin Smith, Chase Pittman

Starters: Willie McGinest, Kamerion Wimbley
Backups: Matt Stewart, Antwaan Peek
Practice squad: Mike Alston
Cut: Jason Short, David McMillan

Starters: Andra Davis, D'Qwell Jackson
Backups: Chaun Thompson, Leon Williams, Mason Unck
Cut: Clifton Smith, Funtaine Hunter

Starters: Daven Holly, Leigh Bodden
Backups: Eric Wright, DeMario Minter, Kenny Wright, Jereme Perry
IR: Gary Baxter
Practice squad: Brandon McDonald
Cut: Antonio Perkins, Therrian Fontenot

Starters: Brodney Pool, Sean Jones
Backups: Mike Adams
Practice squad: Justin Hamilton
Cut: Ben Emanuel, Jeremy Lesueur, Justin Sandy

K Phil Dawson
P Dave Zastudil
LSE Ryan Pontbriand
Cut: Kyle Basler, Jesse Ainsworth

The game is: Tell me where I'm wrong. But remember, we can only have 53 guys on the roster, plus 7 on the practice squad, plus whoever ends up on injured reserve/physically unable to perform.

I know that this list has holes. For instance, punt returner is one of the outstanding open spots. If Eric Wright or Sean Jones can handle that, then the roster can stand as is. But if instead it is won by Brandon McDonald or Syndric Steptoe, then who gets bumped for their spot? DeMario Minter, or Jereme Perry? Could also be Tim Carter, but I'd be worried about our 4th and 5th receivers both being guys who won spots because of their special teams skills

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Draft

I have had a chance to think over what happened last weekend. Here are my thoughts

I don't like trading up. You give up multiple picks to get a guy who the brain trust expects to be worth it. But we Clevelanders are only too aware that no GM or scout is omniscient. Guys who we expect to be good often end up as dogs. Since the GM or scout can't pick a guaranteed winner, the only way to improve your chances of getting lucky with a pick is by having alot of picks, so that even if half of them turn out to be duds, you are still left with some good players.

Savage's trades have the chance of paying off very well. If both Quinn and Wright end up as good as expected, the trades will prove to be worth it. Trading up for them was a risk, though, and if either do end up as failures, it will hurt alot because they both represent multiple picks. I am pretty risk-averse so I don't love the trades. But hopefully the "fortune favors the bold" mantra will hold up in this case.

The Picks
The first three picks were great examples of picking guys who are best available players who ALSO match a particular area of need (although our 2nd rounder Wright needs an asterisk*).

There isn't much more to say about Quinn and Thomas as picks. They are great picks that fill holes without reaching for talent.

The same can be said about cornerback Eric Wright, but not without going into more details. This is the kid who was listed by many as the top cornerback in the draft, which fits well with our huge need at CB. However, he fell through the second round because of character issues. I've searched through news stories, and I can't find anything to suggest that Wright was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. But alot of people are vouching for his character, saying he's a choir boy who made one very bad choice that was out of character. I hope they are right, for the sake of the Browns and for the sake of Wright's future.

The last 4 picks were definite need picks, unless Savage got UNBELIEVABLY lucky the entire way down the draft board with best available player also being at our areas of need (cornerback, defensive line, and punt returner). Drafting based on need is particularly risky in the later rounds, since the talent is pretty marginal anyways. In 2006 Savage had gotten away from the lower round need picks, taking a running back, a full back, a safety, a linebacker, and a cornerback as the best available guys on his board, and not necessarily the most important position.

If we are lucky, Melila Purcell and Chase Pittman might end up being solid defensive linemen. But odds are, they are going to be warm bodies filling obvious holes until those holes can be addressed more convincingly with future draft picks and free agent signings. Similarly, Syndric Steptoe and Brandon McDonald might replace Northcutt at punt returner, and McDonald could be a cornerback project who would be nice to see on the field if the secondary is ravaged by injuries again. But it seems like all four were drafted just to add names to a hurting roster, and not because they were the best available players.

As many have pointed out, this draft COULD be a franchise defining moment. But it could also be a serious drain on our ability fill future holes, since we have put all our eggs in the Quinn and Wright baskets.

We are still a few months off from any of these guys getting signed, but I am starting to hope that the Brady Quinn contract does lead to a bit of a hold out. I want Quinn to sit for a while behind Frye. If he holds out, it would provide a great excuse for Crennel to avoid calls to throw him in before he is ready. And it can also help us save a few bucks since we won't be paying more than we should just to avoid the PR issue.

Linemen on the loose

I still haven't gotten to finish my draft post, and already the aftershocks are coming out:

>> Kevin Shaffer asks for a trade

>> Joe Andruzzi to be released

I'm not too surprised by the Andruzzi move. His play has been pretty unspectacular. Browns management (OK, Crennel) has been championing him as one of the cornerstones of the franchise, I assume for personal reasons and because they like his work ethic and professional attitude (which are nothing to sneer at, but also don't outweigh bad play). In theory we would keep him around a while longer into preseason since it costs us nothing, but I guess Crennel wants to do a favor for his buddy and speed up the inevitable. So it goes. We still have some depth at guard, although this loss kind of eliminates our margin for error.

But whats this about Shaffer wanting out? Whats with these big linemen like Shaffer and Ross Verba turning into whiny primadonnas the moment they don't feel fully appreciated?

Shaffer was payed VERY well to come in and play an important role. Alot of others have called him a failure after his first year, but I wouldn't be upset to see him get another year with a better guard lining up next to him. But in any case, we found a better option than him going forward, and now he may need to adapt to a new role. He should shut up and do his job. If he wanted the freedom to play where and when he desired, he should've worked that into his contract instead of signing a binding contract and collecting a huge signing bonus.

Anybody see the PFT article discussing the Kevin Shaffer "mistake"?

They assume that Savage didn't realize that Shaffer was playing in a different blocking system in Atlanta, and that is why Shaffer didn't perform to expectations. Apparently they think Phil Savage's entire experience with football is as an occasional viewer of ESPN.

This is ridiculous. Of COURSE Savage knew that Shaffer was being pulled into a new position in a new scheme, and that his experience would not directly translate. Not realizing that it would be pretty incompetent for a football writer, let alone for a GM. But part of being GM is projecting how guys will fit in different schemes.

I would also like to make sure we remember the context surrounding the Shaffer signing:
1) Summer of 2005, Ross Verba turns into a headcase and buys out of his contract.

2) New GM and headcoach Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel, already in the midst of dramatic lineup changes on offense and defense, sign LJ Shelton to a one year contract as a stop-gap, since Verba did his crazy-routine well after free agency and the draft had come and gone.

3) Come spring 2006 Shelton is gone, and we need a new LT with no expected chance of drafting one.

4) Shaffer was probably the best available option short of doing another one-year stop-gap measure. He wasn't a franchise left tackle, but those guys are never available in free agency, and he was expensive, but he filled a need. In hindsight a one year stop-gap could have been a better option, but with 20-20 hindsight we could have taken Marcus McNeill in the second round. Might as well have grabbed Marquis Colston in the 6th round, if you're going to start the second guessing.

Shaffer might not be our long-term left tackle, but I would hardly call his signing a mistake.