Off Season Moves impact on ex-Buckeyes in the AFC Central

Off Season Moves impact on ex-Buckeyes in the AFC Central
Troy Smith Ohio State Football

Off Season Moves impact on ex-Buckeyes in the AFC Central

Troy Smith is the only ex-Buckeye on the Ravines but he could have a huge impact.  The quarterback position is in total flux since veteran Steve McNair retired.

By Bill Smith

Baltimore—Troy Smith has the inside track to starting so far.

            Q Smith, Troy 2y

            Troy Smith is the only ex-Buckeye on the Ravines but he could have a huge impact.  The quarterback position is in total flux since veteran Steve McNair retired.  The list of suspects, and they all are suspects at this point, to fill the job includes Smith, veteran Kyle Boller, and rookie first round choice Joe Flacco from Delaware.

            Boller started 8 games last year and ended with a rating of 75.6.  He was a UFA at the end of the year but was resigned on a 1 year contract.  That alone shows the Rav's had very little belief that he was a long term solution. 

            Smith started the last 2 games in 2007, winning one, and had a QB rating of 79.5.  He has been working hard on his footwork.  He has always had a strong arm and great escapability.   With the problems that the offensive line had last year, that was an important characteristic.

            Flacco comes in as the strongest armed but least prepared QB of the top 5 in the draft.  He is huge.  Although he looked good in the all star games, it must be mentioned that the defense in those games is limited to man or static zone.  At his level of competition, he has never seen a rotating zone or a combination of zone-man defense.  That lack of experience added to the much faster game at the pro level means he probably would not be ready to contribute this year.

            The rumors coming out of the OTA's in that Smith has looked very good.  There is at this point a better than even chance that he will be the starting QB on week 1.  To keep the rookie on the sideline holding the clip board, Smith will need to show he is the one that can lead the team to wins.

Cincinnati—No ex-Buckeyes. 

            The Bengals will be forced to go no huddle this season because the law prevents felons from being within 20 feet of each other.

Cleveland—Bentley on schedule to play in 08.

            Bentley, LeCharles 6y

            The history of the Browns return has been marred by staff infections.  Bentley, the former All-American Buckeye standout and all pro center and guard, wanted to play for the Browns.  The moment he became a free agent, he left the Saints and signed with Cleveland.  On the first play in training camp, he tore a ligament in his knee.

            He was the first Brown to have his surgery complicated by a staff infection.  Since a half a dozen other players have been affected.  Even so, the Browns continue to use the same doctors and hospitals to take care of their players.

            Bentley has had multiple operations on the knee most of which were directly the result of the infection.  He has shown the same work ethic he did at OSU.   When many players would have taken it easy being on IR and still getting paid, he has worked his body back to the point where he should be ready to participate in the Summer camp.

            He will be needed because the starting guard Ryan Tucker was hurt in the OTA's.  Bentley was all pro at both center and guard before the injury.  If he returns to even 90% of what he was, he will start at RG for the Browns in 08.

Pittsburgh—Holmes ready to take advantage of Roethlisberger 's strong arm.

            Holmes, Santonio WR 3y

            Holmes provided the speed that the Steelers so desperately needed in the passing game last year.   The 2006 first round choice of the team defied the league rule of thumb on rookie WR's by having an excellent first year.  He caught 48 balls in 06 averaging over 16 yards per catch.  In 07 he started 13 games before being hurt and caught 52 balls for over 18 yards per catch and 8 td's. 

            He will start opposite Hines Ward for the Steelers and should have another great season.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams and has scouted talent.  He is a senior writer for  He has also published several novels on and edits
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