Derry: Not "Inconclusive" to Me

Romeo Crennel calls Charlie Frye's performance "inconclusive". Frank Derry has another view...

Gee, Trent, it was nice knowin' ya. Don't let the door hit you in the rear end.

Sunday afternoon, on a perfect day for football in Northeast Ohio, young Charlie Frye got his first opportunity to show what he could do in a starting role in a regular-season game.

To say he was impressive, at least in the first half, would be an under-statement. Frye, the former University of Akron standout, put on such an incredible display that head coach Romeo Crennel should come out immediately and announce that Frye will be his starting quarterback for the rest of the season.

Dilfer, who was 4-7 as the Browns starter before being sidelined with tendonitis in his right knee, should return to the role he fills best … veteran backup quarterback. Grab a clipboard, Trent.

On Sunday, Frye had the Browns on top 14-3 at halftime thanks to a second quarter that produced the most impressive 15 minutes of football seen in Cleveland in a long, long time. Unfortunately, the cream rose in the second half as the Jaguars escaped with a hard-fought 20-14 victory.

But Frye's first half performance alone – 8-for-11 for 180 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a whopping 154.4 rating – was better than anything we've seen from Dilfer this year even in ideal conditions.

Frye and company competed very well against one of the premier teams in the NFL, a 9-3 team that has a legitimate shot to go a long way in the playoffs.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, even without starting quarterback Byron Leftwich and veteran running back Fred Taylor, are a formidable foe. But Sunday afternoon, once Frye had his handcuffs taken off in the second quarter, the Browns performed as an inspired team both offensively and defensively.

In the first quarter, with the wind blowing and the snow falling, Frye proved he could hand the ball off, much to the chagrin of the fans who knew something that apparently offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon failed to realize.

Without any semblance of a passing game, the running game, even with a dynamic back like Reuben Droughns taking handoff after handoff, had no chance for success.

But someone apparently gave Carthon a wake-up call in the second quarter. Unfortunately, he fell asleep again in the second half, but more on that later.

In the second quarter, Frye proved he's smart; has excellent scrambling ability; can feather a ball into his receivers and hit his target with a bullet when necessary.

Frye's gray matter came into play when a Jaguars lineman jumped offside early in the second quarter. He knew it was a free play, so even though fellow rookie Braylon Edwards had triple coverage in the end zone, Frye still lofted the ball in Edwards' direction.

Somehow, two of defensive backs ran into each other, allowing Edwards to sky high and secure the ball. Frye raced to the end zone to join in the celebration, which ended with Edwards handing Frye the ball.

I have a feeling it'll be the first of many Frye-to-Edwards touchdown passes.

Later in the same quarter, Frye made an outstanding pass to Dennis Northcutt down the right sideline while rolling to his right. Later, he hit Antonio Bryant with a bullet that, unfortunately, Bryant let hit him in the chest to kill the drive.

After an interception by Brian Russell got the ball back for the Browns with a little more than one minute remaining in the half, Frye was able to engineer a two-minute drill that included a pass to Edwards on which he made a great catch; a first-down pass to Aaron Shea; a six-yard carry by Droughns that put him over the 1,000 yard mark; and another touchdown hookup between Frye and Edwards, this one covering 17 yards.

Unfortunately, it might be the last one of this season for the rookie duo due to the fact Edwards suffered what appeared to be a serious right knee injury in the fourth quarter.

Edwards' knee buckled as he came down after battling for the ball. It was a shame because not only did the Browns lose their No. 1 draft pick, they also lost any chance of being able to pull off the victory.

As he was hauled off on the dreaded meat wagon, you could just feel all of the adrenal get sapped out of those remaining in the stadium. About the only Browns player who looked like he was still running on all cylinders was defensive end Orpheus Roye, who was a one-man showing in shutting down the Jaguars in the fourth quarter.

In reality, this was a tale of two halves.

In the first half, the Browns were flying high, doing everything right.

After intermission, the Jaguars decided to pin their ears back and come after Frye like Crennel had predicted every team will.

There was far too much predictability in Carthon's play-calling when the Browns were trying to protect their 14-3 lead. That allowed the Jaguars to get heavy pressure on the first-year quarterback.

Crennel said, "We played a pretty good first half. In the second half we didn't get much done."

Asked to access Frye's performance, Crennel said, "He handled the first half OK and then second half problems developed, so it (Frye's effort) was inconclusive."

Maybe it was inconclusive in Crennel's eyes, but in my eyes I have concluded Frye needs to get four more starts to really show whether this team needs to address that position come the off-season.

At this point, I think it's in good hands. And it'll be in better hands if either Carthon improves his play-calling or Crennel makes a change.

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