Camp Preview: The QB Competition

There are five quarterbacks, but only room for three on the roster...

The Browns have four quarterbacks with a legitimate chance of making the roster and only three are likely to stick around after final cuts are made Sept. 3.
Starter Trent Dilfer isn't going anywhere, and unless he looks absolutely miserable in practice and preseason, veteran backup Doug Johnson isn't going anywhere, either. He was signed in June as insurance in case Dilfer is injured.

Third-round rookie Charlie Frye seems safe, at least for this season. If he doesn't show at least a glint of hope, he could be replaced as early as 2006. The plan for 2005 is to let him sit and learn. Pressing rookies into duty before they are ready has not worked out for the Browns, at least not for Tim Couch or Luke McCown.

That leaves Josh Harris as the man who appears to be outside looking in. Harris was a sixth-round pick by Baltimore in 2004. The Browns signed him from the Ravens' practice squad in December.

It is coincidence that Phil Savage, the Browns general manager, was in the Ravens front office when the Browns signed Harris last year. The Browns went after Harris because injuries to Jeff Garcia and Kelly Holcomb forced them to get another quarterback. Harris did not play last season.

Harris hopes being with the Browns since for the offseason program and learning from the start with offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon will give him the chance to let his natural ability take over when the competition begins. Like all pro athletes, he isn't even thinking about not making the team.

"You don't have a choice but to be ready," Harris said. "You always have to be ready and that's how you keep up with this game. If you're not ready, you're not going to spend too much time in this locker room or anybody else's locker room."

Even if Harris does not make the final roster, he could become part of the eight-man practice squad. The risk is the Ravens might try to get him back if he is waived. Another year of seasoning for Harris and Frye might be enough to make coach Romeo Crennel comfortable with Dilfer, Frye and Harris in 2006.

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