Energy abounding, the Cleveland Browns concluded day one of their O.T.A's on Tuesday. What a joyous occasion, as the brown, orange, and white donned the gear (well shorts, shirts, etc) and hit the practice field.
The hitting was fierce (no tackling of course), with the Browns looking every bit of a team in transition, especially if you are concerned about the offensive side of the ball.
Quarterbacks Charlie Frye and Brady Quinn appeared lost at times working in offensive coordinator's Rob Chudzinski system for the first time. Both quarterbacks threw interceptions on Tuesday, though Frye appeared to be slightly more in-tune with his game on the day. Derek Anderson was by-far the best looking of the three quarterbacks.
Speaking of Frye, we will maintain our stance that he is the leading candidate to start the season under center for the Browns. Derek Anderson, who displayed some promise last season, has earned a legitimate shot at the starting position but does not appear as universally accepted in Browns camp. At this time, there is somewhat of a comfort level with Frye - possibly because the coaching staff knows what they can expect from him - and they need to see more of Anderson in a game-type setting.
Regarding the veteran quarterbacks on the roster, ‘the fly' flew off the following goods away for our happy reading pleasure:
- Charlie Frye is viewed as a capable leader, but those within the organization expect him to become more direct in his manner of handling the team. Questions remain regarding Frye's ability to compete in the pocket, as well whether he will become more of patient passer in the team's new system, which dictates such. In the new offensive scheme, his arm-strength (or lack of) is not deemed an issue. Frye has worked diligently in the off-season and sought out Chudzinski to get a grasp of the offensive system.
- Derek Anderson has a legitimate shot to rip the starting role from Frye's grasp. Those within the organization like his arm and pocket presence, though his decision-making is perceived to be less than optimal. However, his relative inexperience is considered to be an underlying factor in some of his rough moments last season. Anderson's composure makes him a good candidate to follow through the progressive reads, while not ad-libbing as quickly or unwarrantedly as the current starter. While Frye receives the attention as the starter, it would not come as a surprise if Anderson were to beat out Frye for the starting role.
- Ken Dorsey is a quick study. He might be one of the most intelligent players in the game and he understands how to attack a defense. The issue with Dorsey is that he is not overly athletic and does not possess adequate arm strength for a starting caliber quarterback. What Dorsey does well is communicate, relay what he sees to the other quarterbacks, and keep others around him focused.
All this leads us to the question of Brady Quinn's status.
Despite what you may hear elsewhere, Quinn is not going to be under center for the Browns as the starting quarterback unless he clearly outplays either Frye or Anderson. Simply put, if the competition is close, Quinn is going to be on the bench.
The thoughts within the organization are that Quinn will play when he is actually ready, and not because the overall situation of the quarterback position is cloudy. There will be no disappointment if Quinn were to sit and watch from the sideline for the majority of the season.
The sense that the promising Notre Dame QB shouldn't be pressed into action too early pervades the organization. At the same time, some of the same people within the organization are of the belief Quinn will at some point become the starter in 2007, whether it occurs in week one or week eight.
About the offensive line
A common theory surrounding the Browns' offensive line is that first-round draft selection Joe Thomas is a lock to start at left tackle and Kevin Shaffer will become the starter at the right tackle position.
While sounding promising in theory, making such a move would have some ramifications elsewhere. If Thomas were to beat out Shaffer for the starting spot at left tackle, the right tackle position does appears to be the logical move for Shaffer. The issue is that Shaffer's strength is not on the power side of the game, which the right tackle is generally known for. Additionally, Ryan Tucker mans the right tackle position and it is very questionable as to whether Shaffer would be better than Tucker on the edge.
One thing is certain, look for the Browns to display some flexibility along the offensive line, with Shaffer taking reps at right tackle, while Tucker does the same at right guard.
"If Thomas takes the left tackle starting job, there is no guarantee Kevin (Shaffer) is going to just slide into the right tackle role. There is a little more going on than just making such a move," a team source tells ‘the fly". "Ryan Tucker appears to be healthy and is a heck of a right tackle. Tucker can play guard, he has in the past, but is the line better off with two players potentially playing at positions which they are not as proficient?"
Lost in the mix is the signing of guard/center Seth McKinney. Coming off neck surgery, McKinney is healthy and anxious to prove he is a quality offensive lineman once again.
"If Tucker proves he is the best player at right tackle, he will be there. If it comes to Shaffer competing at right tackle, then the best player will play. The same will go at right guard. Tucker is not going to move inside unless he is beaten out in camp and then, he would have to be the better option at guard," the source said.
Until next time,