A Tale of Two Quarterbacks

The paths of Charlie Frye and Ben Roethlisberger have crossed more than once in the last four years, with the Steelers quarterback getting the best of it so far. Fred Greetham talked to Frye and Head Coach Romeo Crennel today, and here's their take on the continuing saga of two MAC quarterbacks...

Berea – This weeks game signifies the matchup of two young kids who grew up in northwest Ohio, played each other in high school and in college and now are about the play against each other in the NFL.

Ben Roethlisberger grew up in Findlay and went to Miami (Oh) University before being a first-round draft choice of the Steelers in 2004.

On the other hand, Charlie Frye grew up about 50 miles from Roethlisberger in Willard and went to Akron before becoming a third-round draft choice of the Browns in 2005.

Romeo Crennel said the two young quarterbacks are similar, but have different supporting casts.

"They're both similar," Crennel said. "Ben can run the ball. He usually doesn't unless he has to. (The Steelers) have a lot of weapons around him. They have good running backs, receivers, tight ends and an offensive line. All of the pressure isn't on his shoulders.

"In Charlie's situation, we don't have as many weapons as Ben does or when he stepped in last year," Crennel said. "They both stand in the pocket and can roll out. They both can make plays."

Frye was 0-3 against Roethlisberger when Akron played Miami in college.

"Ben's a great player," Frye said. "He makes plays. He led his team and I think that's one of the most important roles of the quarterback."

Frye said although much is made about the quarterbacks battling, it's really not what he worries about.

"I'm more worried about the Steelers' defense," he said. "They've been hyping us up since we were freshmen in college, but I'm going up against their defense."

Frye respects the fact that Roethlisberger stepped in when Tommy Maddox was injured last year and led the Steelers to 14-straight wins at the helm.

"What he did last year was something special," Frye said. "He did a great job last year and continues to this year."

Frye will be making his fourth start in the NFL with a record of 1-2. He is 56-of-88 for 620 yards (63.6 pct.) with three touchdowns and four interceptions. His QB rating is 76.9. In his three games as a starter, Frye's rating is 89.9, second only to Otto Graham's performance in his first three games.

Roethlisberger is 148-of-232 for 2024 yards (63.8 pct.) with 16 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He has a QB rating of 102.0.

Frye doesn't think coming from the Mid American Conference hurt him in the least.

"What you can do when you're on the field is what counts," Frye said. "I've had people doubting me my whole life. It makes me work harder."

Crennel was asked what he thought about quarterbacks coming out of the MAC.

"It says these two players are pretty good," he said. "You might say you look at the MAC if you're looking for poise. I don't know if you could say all are poised, but these two are."

Crennel said this will be the biggest test thus far for Frye.

"It's a harder test for Charlie because they are an overall better team," Crennel said. "They have a good defense and they pressure the quarterback. It will be a good test for him."

Frye agrees.

"This is a big game because it's a division game," he said. "It's also a rivalry game. Growing up being a Cleveland fan, I know how much it means to the state of Ohio."

Frye said he never attended a Browns/Steelers game as a kid, but was diplomatic about his feelings for the Steelers.

"This will be my first Browns/Steelers game in Cleveland," he said. "I wouldn't say I disliked the Steelers, but I was a Cleveland fan. You can read into that.

"This game means a lot to the city," he said. "I expect to see a lot of orange and brown just like I saw all the terrible towels when I was in Pittsburgh. The fans will give us a big lift."

Crennel said Roethlisberger and Frye both have leadership qualities.

"Ben has a certain amount of leadership and confidence he brings to the team," Crennel said. "In what he brings to the table, he makes plays and helps them win."

Why did Roethlisberger get drafted in the first-round and Frye in the third?

"Evidently, the guys who do the evaluating saw more in Ben than in Charlie," Crennel said. "We've said Charlie's mechanics aren't great, but he makes plays when he's out there."

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