Passan: The Other Trent

Rich Passan has never been one to hide his opinion, whether he was hosting the Browns post-game show on local radio, writing for the Plain Dealer, or writing commentaries on Bernie's Insiders. Browns starting QB Trent Dilfer has been known to speak pretty directly himself. These two intersect today, as Rich expresses his disbelief at Trent Dilfer's comments following the Browns feel-good shutout victory on Sunday...

Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Bernie Kosar or the staff of BerniesInsiders.com


Let's see now. The Browns won a game Sunday against the Miami Dolphins. Shut 'em out. In front of the home folks. Shutouts R Us.

Everybody happy, right? Time to feel good. Time to kick back and enjoy.

What's that? Not everybody's happy?

Who's got a beef? Naw. No way. He can't be unhappy. Not him.

Trent Dilfer isn't happy? Mr. Team Guy not happy? He's hacked off? About what? Charlie Frye getting a couple of cracks at quarterback in the victory? C'mon, tell me you're kidding.

Dilfer would never do that. The Browns won, didn't they? Dilfer should be thrilled because the Browns don't win very often with him at quarterback.

Said something about upsetting his rhythm? Frye goes in for a few series, plays uneven and Dilfer worries about losing his rhythm? What rhythm? On a dance floor maybe. Not on a football field.

If he had any rhythm, the Browns would be 7-3 today and challenging for the AFC North lead instead of sitting at 4-6.

Also said that taking his rhythm away makes his job a lot harder? Lack of talent makes Dilfer's job a lot harder. Doesn't he see how average a quarterback he is? Throwing high, throwing late, missing open receivers; the dreaded average quarterback trifecta.

The feel-good aura permeates the locker room after the victory and Dilfer whines about being yanked? How selfish is that?

And when the media broaches the subject, Dilfer gets testy? Tells a reporter "that's none of your business" when asked at what point last week did he know Frye would see some action against the Dolphins.

That's a legitimate question given the circumstances surrounding Dilfer's play this season. Let's face it; his performance has lived down to its advance billing.

If Dilfer is hacked off at the coach for doing this to him, maybe he should take into consideration that a lot of fans are hacked off at him for the way he's performed. Or underperformed. He hasn't exactly inspired their confidence.

Since coming out of Fresno State, Dilfer and mediocrity have walked arm in arm down the same path. There's nothing special about him other than the fact he talks a terrific game. If he played the game as well as he talks it, the Browns would be playoff contenders and the thought of putting Frye into a game would never cross Romeo Crennel's mind.

Crennel has said all along that Frye would get an opportunity to show what he could do. Didn't say when; just that he would. And to his credit, the coach picked the perfect – and safest – spot to baptize Frye.

The Browns had the lead at the time, the game was at home, Dilfer was having an up-and-down throwing day (in rhythm, of course) and the opponent was the Miami Dolphins, whose defense hasn't sent offensive coordinators into bouts of shivers.

The move, no matter how you feel about getting Frye some time, made sense from a timing standpoint. If Frye was going to see some action, this was the best time.

And from all indications on television, Dilfer's body language seemed to indicate Frye had his moral support. The veteran did not seem upset.

It must have welled up inside because he cut loose following the game. Even threatened to end the news conference if the media persisted in following the Frye storyline.

Where was that team guy? Someone nudged the selfish bones in his body and he flinched.

At the same time, Crennel opened a Pandora's Box by putting Frye in there. Whether he likes or not, he has planted the seeds for a quarterback controversy. Now that Frye has played, the cries for further play will increase.

The moment Dilfer slips up – and there will be plenty of opportunities for that to happen – the wails of "Charlie, Charlie, Charlie" will arise. And they'll get louder with each Dilfer mistake.

What Crennel has to watch for now is the inevitable clubhouse split on who the quarterback should be the rest of the season. It doesn't take much for the players to start taking sides. Dilfer most likely has his supporters (the veterans) and detractors (the younger players), but the detractors remained silent because Crennel clearly said Dilfer was his man.

That was then. This is now. By inserting Frye, everything now changes. The cradle has been shaken.

Crennel says he doesn't need to talk with Dilfer about the situation, calling him a "competitor" and a "professional." He might regret that move.

Toying with Dilfer's emotions might turn out to be more combustible than he ever thought.


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