The OBR Daily News & World Report

Any story that involves "elk", "duct tape" and "duct-taped elks" is a must-read in my book. Oh yeah. Believe it. This story has all of that and a lot, lot more. And if that's not enough of a tease to get you to read, I don't know what is.

This week, a lot of people are wondering if Charlie Frye will start at quarterback this Sunday for the Cleveland Browns against the Baltimore Ravens.

I'm not a lot of people--although the expanding waistline says otherwise--so I'm wondering: why would Frye start? Or, better yet, what would be the point?

Apparently, the Browns are reaching the latter point as well.

Head coach Romeo Crennel once again tap-danced around the issue of who would start at QB this Sunday, telling reporters that no determination has been made as to who will be under center this weekend. Even when given the opportunity to pledge his allegiance to a healthy Frye, Crennel went Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf on the subject and refused to stand.

"You guys keep asking me the question, 'If Charlie is healthy, is he going to start?' " Crennel said. "I've said all along, I'm going to see what they can do and how it turns out. Then I'll make a determination at that time."

Frye has not been able to grip a football since injuring the wrist on his throwing arm in the win over Kansas City nine days ago. The Akron product has been in a brace since then, and will attempt to throw during practice on Wednesday. Frye told reporters following the loss to the Steelers that, if the game had been on Sunday instead of Thursday, he likely would have been able to make a go of it.

However, that seems unlikely given the fact that he's highly questionable for this Sunday's game.

With that being said, look for Frye to remain just injured enough to allow Derek Anderson to get the starting nod against the Ravens. Wink wink, nudge nudge.

In two career games vs., the Steelers, Frye has been sacked 13 times. In Anderson's start against Pittsburgh on the road, he was not sacked and, in fact, was barely touched while he was in the pocket.

During his time with reporters yesterday, Frye had an excuse... errr... reason for those rather odd sets of numbers.

"I thought Pittsburgh had a different philosophy this (past) week," Frye said. "They had a couple guys in their secondary missing (including standout Troy Polamalu), so I don't think they were willing to be as risky as they usually are."

I checked and, sure enough, that quote shows just what I suspected, that Frye is in the very beginning stages of a condition known as scaredoflosingyourjobitis. Hopefully it's not a condition that's susceptible to a staph infection.

And speaking of staph infections, Brian Russell has taken over the team lead in acquiring them. Unfortunately for the safety, this last bout with the dreaded staph has put him on injured reserve and ended his 2006 season three games prematurely.

Russell--who has been in the Cleveland Clinic since last Thursday--missed the final pre-season game due to an infection in his elbow. It was later revealed that the source of the infection was staph.

Team doctors felt they had the condition under control until Russell re-opened the cut in the first of the two Pittsburgh games. Nearly three weeks later, the staph returned and knocked Russell out for the remainder of the season.

The veteran defensive back might also have played his final game in a Cleveland Browns uniform as he is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent following the end of the season. As of late last week, the Browns and Russell's representatives had held no talks on a new contract.

With Sean Jones and Brodney Pool on the roster and playing well--and with as many holes as this team has to fill (Phil?)--the club may look to allocate the dollars that Russell will likely command on the open market to shore up other areas of the team.

Off and on all season, drops have plagued the Cleveland Browns and their stable of receivers. Last Thursday against Pittsburgh, those drops finally came to enough of a head that Crennel feels it might be time to get rudimentary on his skill players.

By Crennel's count, the Browns dropped nine passes in the loss to the Steelers. Twelve of those nine drops were directly attributed to Dennis Northcutt.

So, Crennel is thinking of doing what any grizzled veteran of NFL trench warfare would do. He might be busting out the stickers and magic markers.

"We could put colored dots on the ball, put numbers on the panels and make them call them out, color the tip of the ball, any number of things," Crennel said. "We'll do what we have to at practice because we're gonna try to get them to concentrate more."

Tight end Steve Heiden told reporters that the practice implemented by Crennel was similar to some of the receiving drills utilized at his alma mater, South Dakota State. Of course, this is the same university where duct-taping elk to various objects around campus is considered good form*, so it remains to be seen how effective this practice will be.

(*--I don't know if this is true or not. All I know is when I think of South Dakota, I think of elk. And when I think of elk, I think of duct tape. Don't ask. My lineage stretches deep into the hollers of West Virginia. Put it this way: God forbid there is ever a story that involves both the Browns and the Midshipmen's mascot. Don't say you haven't been warned.)

Defensive end Orpheus Roye, placed on injured reserve yesterday due to an injured left knee, has no doubts that he will fully recover from his injury-filled 2006 season and return for what would be his 12th NFL season next year.

"I'll go through the offseason, get healthy, get stronger, come back and try to have a good season,'' Roye said. ''A lot of injuries slowed me down this year. The good thing is I can heal and come back stronger."

In addition to the medial collateral ligament damage in his left knee--which is not expected to require surgery to repair--that forced him out of the past two games, Roye also missed games against the Ravens and Chargers with shoulder and hamstring injuries, respectively.

As a direct result of Roye's season-ending injury, the Browns raided the Steelers practice squad and signed defensive end Orien Harris to their 53-man roster. The 6'3", 302-pound Harris was a fourth-round draft pick of the Steelers in the past April's NFL draft. Harris' athletic ability had him on the first-day radar of many teams early on in the draft process--including the Browns--but questions over his up-and-down, inconsistent play at the University of Miami pushed him to the second day of the draft.

Harris' brother Kwame was a first-round draft pick--26th overall--of the 49ers in 2003.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "It wouldn't take a lot to play better, would it?"--head coach Romeo Crennel, on how hard it would be for his squad to improve upon last Thursday's $#!% performance.

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