We're heading into week two of the pre-season and the Browns questions at quarterback continue to raises eyebrows. Looking for answers are the teammates of Charlie Frye, Derek Anderson, Ken Dorsey, and Brady Quinn, as well as fans, OBR message board faithful, and the media alike.
Watching training camp progress, I have a different view on the closeness of the quarterback competition than we've heard from Berea. But my name is not Romeo Crennel and my future with the Browns is not on the line.
Hands down, Frye has won the contest for the starting job so far. While less than spectacular, Frye has been workmanlike and he does play better when the game-clock is running. If not for three very questionable plays in the preseason opener, Frye would be in the process of being hailed as the obvious selection at the quarterback position.
Continuing a trend from last season, Frye does not appear to play well in the red-zone. His lack of confidence or decision-making in this all-important are of the field has been putting the Browns at a disadvantage consistently. Unless the trait changes, the team's offense is going to continue to settle for the customary Phil Dawson chip-shots rather than the seven points they need.
Derek Anderson has had his moments in the sun during training camp. He throws the nicest looking ball. He can chuck the pigskin as far, if not further, than any player at the position (lets exclude Joshua Cribbs here).
The issue is consistency. Anderson struggles to throw at a consistent level, he struggles against the blitz, and is the slowest of the quarterbacks coming from under center and setting up.
Further down on the depth chart lies ex-Hurricane and 49er Ken Dorsey. Every team in the league could be improved with a Ken Dorsey on the roster. His mental capacity and communication skills far exceed the what you typically find at the bottom of an depth chart. Dorsey keeps it together, talks and walks through the scheme and opposition.
We're left to speculate what the upside would be for Dorsey if he had some additional arm-strength.
Meanwhile, the rookie is making some noise.
Brady Quinn has gone from being a much-criticized holdout to being a player lighting a fire under the quarterback position battle.
The upside, if any, of Quinn's holdout is that it kept his arm and focus fresh. Quinn has thrown the ball well over the past several days and deserves playing time with the big-boys.
The young man gets from under center into his drops very quickly and hasn't been prone to staring down receivers as some others in camp have. Quinn wants the ball, he has something to prove to his teammates and himself, and is practicing like it.
That sets where we are today, in my view. Now, some excellent questions from a post by "Tochigi" in the Ask the Insiders forum:
The QB situation continues to astound me. We are still pushing/hoping that
CF or DA "gets it" and can do something with the team until Quinn is ready. Of
course even he is not a guaranteed success, right?
So, two years ago we had Dilfer and as unimpressive as he was, the opponents at least had to respect the passing game and couldn't crowd the box. Dilfer gets fired for objecting to CF being "handed" the job without competition. Seems Mr. Dilfer knew what every opposing team knew - that they didn't have to respect the passing game from CF. (By the way did Phil ever send Dilfer an apology card or something?). Therefore, last year was so terrible because of the inept QB play. Now as we head into this new season:
1. We have the same poor QB situation with CF (I have given up on DA) - opposing defenses will still crowd the box until he PROVES he can beat them deep. Do you think he can do that?
MY TAKE: I don't see Frye being the type of QB that is going to beat a team deep with any consistency due to his mindset and arm strength. Frye still looks to dump the ball off and he throws the type of deep ball a defender can recover on. I see the opposition attempting to crowd the box, but if the line is strong, Frye will have the opportunity to attack the defense vertically between the LB's and DB's.
2. We have not gotten any veteran help at QB - showing we don't plan on winning until Quinn is ready?
MY TAKE: I did not see too many veteran quarterbacks who were a fit in this scheme or worth possibly pinching the progress of a young QB. On the sideline and in meetings/film work, Ken Dorsey provides that value.
3. All of our eggs so to speak are in the Quinn basket?
MY TAKE: Much anticipation and expectation will follow Quinn until he steps on the field and produces.
4. Phil Savage has a gambling addiction? He gambled on CF and lost and is now gambling on Quinn
MY TAKE: I wouldn't say he lost on Frye, I just don't believe the team was set up to provide him develop. Frye could have some success here or with another team... he is not a bust of a player, he has talent, but needs to gain further experience and work on his issues.
5. RC has a problem with hypocrisy? He handed CF the starting job last TC. Why not make maximum effort to "hand it" to our best hope, Brady Quinn
MY TAKE: Yes, he did hand the reigns over to Frye last season, which did not
prove anything other than he did not appreciate and listen to the advice of the
former offensive coordinator with the team (Not Mo Carthon).
6. If Brady Quinn IS our hope, then why so slow in getting him into camp?
MY TAKE: Negotiations are a two-way street and the team made ample effort to get
him in camp. We reported the dealings of negotiations for the weeks prior to the
signing. This is a deal which should have been concluded well before the start
of rookie camp.
OR - Is RC just mouthing platitudes and in reality they are pushing Quinn as hard/fast as possible
On Crennel, he really does not like playing very young players and rookies, unless he has few options. Mistakes young players make really bother him, but looking at players at some other positions, I don't see much of a difference.