Jury Out on Dorsey

There's never been any real doubt that Ken Dorsey has the heart and the smarts to play football at the NFL level. The questions have been around his arm strength and mechanics, and the Browns will be watching closely during full squad practices next weekend...

The Browns hope to know by the conclusion of a mandatory full-squad minicamp June 16-18 whether Ken Dorsey has enough arm strength to be a legitimate backup quarterback to Charlie Frye. The coaches are already convinced Dorsey has the head and the heart to play in the NFL.

Dorsey was acquired from the 49ers last month along with a seventh-round draft choice for quarterback Trent Dilfer. The trade left the Browns without a time-tested quarterback behind Frye.

The on-field portion of the Browns' offseason program began June 1 and continues through minicamp. Dorsey is auditioning as much as any undrafted rookie is.

"He's excellent in the classroom, he's a quick learner and he's a team player," General Manager Phil Savage said. "Those are the things we thought about him when we made the trade and he's shown that since he's been here.

"The coaches like him. That's been his M.O. throughout his career. It's a matter of his physical ability. We think in watching him there are some adjustments we can make to some of his mechanics that can help him based on my conversations with Rip Scherer, our quarterbacks coach."

The knock on Dorsey is the same one he had coming out of Miami in 2003 -- good leader, football savvy, but he has a weak arm. It's why the 49ers were able to get him in the seventh round after he lead the Hurricanes to a national championship in 2001 and an undefeated regular season in 2002. The Ohio State Buckeyes beat him in the Fiesta Bowl to end his chances of back-to-back national titles.

The Browns have made no move to acquire an experienced veteran that might throw better than Dorsey. Tommy Maddox, Jeff Blake, Tim Couch and Kerry Collins are among the quarterbacks still looking for work. But as Savage said in an earlier interview: "Those guys are unemployed for a reason."

Asked whether his conversations with Scherer has made him more convinced the Browns do not need to pursue a veteran, Savage answered:

"I think we'd like to be more convinced than we are now. We'll know more after we actually see Ken Dorsey and (third quarterback) Derek Anderson and some of the other guys out on the field. We don't play Sunday so it's not a huge concern. I think I'll be able to answer that question a lot better (at the end of minicamp)."

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