Derry: Time for a Change

Trent Dilfer hasn't gotten the job done, writes long-time BNI and Bernie's Insiders columnist Frank Derry. The Browns' upcoming trip to Houston marks an opportunity to see what the Browns QB-of-the-future can do...

Sorry, Charlie, but your days of lounging on the Browns sideline on Sunday afternoon will, or at least should, soon be coming to an end.

It's time for you to get tossed into the frying pan.

This team definitely needs a little zip in its offense.

Yes, Charlie Frye, ex-Akron Zip, this is your chance.

If head coach Romeo Crennel doesn't realize this fact after watching Sunday's unbelievable 13-10 loss to the Detroit Lions at Cleveland Browns Stadium, then something is wrong with his eyesight. Stevie Wonder could see the biggest problem for the offense, which once again treated the end zone as though it were a mine field, was the man calling the signals.

Trent Dilfer simply is not a very good quarterback.

Sure, he had a lot of people, myself included, fooled into believing he was the man with his early-season performance. (How quickly we forget! Last year, Jeff Garcia, did the same thing in the Browns' impressive 20-3 season-opening victory over the Baltimore Ravens. But the very next week he set an all-time record for ineptness with a 0.00 quarterback rating.)

Dilfer wasn't quite that bad against the Lions. He had a 22.0 rating, which isn't a whole lot better than a 0.00. Not only did Dilfer throw three interceptions, but he overthrew a couple of wide open receivers and failed to see some guys who were roaming all alone in the Lions' secondary.

Dilfer doesn't have the quickness to elude many pass rushers and you have to wonder whether he has the arm to go deep, based upon the fact the Browns' passing game consists almost exclusively of short to mid-rang passes.

Like most quarterbacks (Tim Couch being an exception), Dilfer talks a good game. Unlike Garcia, he is willing to bear responsibility for many of the problems facing this team. As well he should.

Now, Crennel needs to do the right thing and give his rookie quarterback a chance. This is the perfect opportunity. The Browns still are in the middle of the weak portion of their schedule.

Next week's opponent, the Houston Texans, are not known for a tremendous pass rush. And the fact they are winless should keep the crowd from being in a frenzy.

In other words, there could be a lot more difficult times for Frye to get his first chance.

I truly don't think that standing on the sideline and watching Dilfer perform is in any way helping in his development. Quite the contrary. Watching the way Dilfer has played the past three weeks must make Frye think he is back in junior high school.

Take away those two quick touchdowns at the end of the game against the Bears on Oct. 9 and the Browns' offense has done absolutely nothing for four straight games, dating back to the Sept. 25 loss to the Colts.

Sunday afternoon against the Lions, Dilfer couldn't even blame the lack of a running game for his passing problems. Reuben Droughns ran for 100 yards on 19 carries. It was the first time all season he had been given a chance, and the former Denver Bronco definitely came through big time.

Romeo, if you don't make the change for the fans, who definitely want to see Charlie get a chance, then make it for the sake of your defense.

Game after game the defense is not only asked to play a huge number of minutes because the offense is going three-and-out far too often, but the terrible field position being created by the turnovers is putting an undo burden on its shoulders.

Maybe Charlie Frye isn't the answer. Maybe the team will have to go out this upcoming off-season and draft someone high in the first round (it certainly appears we will be getting a high draft choice).

But unless Frye gets the opportunity to prove himself one way or the other, we will never know if he can get the job done in the regular season.

There's no doubt he did extremely well during the preseason, but everyone knows that is not a good gauge of a player's ability. For some reason, I have a feeling that, given the opportunity, he will prove worthy of his being selected in the third round of this year's draft.

And, of course, if Frye does struggle, Crennel can always go back to his veteran signal-caller. But at least we will get an opportunity to see what he can and cannot do.

And in a season when development is far more important than winning, then this is the perfect opportunity. After the Texans, the Browns return home against a mediocre Tennessee team.

Two weeks won't determine whether Frye will make it in the NFL, but it will be a good starting point to his career.

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