In this morning's Akron Beacon Journal, columnist Terry Pluto absolutely nails it: it's time for head coach Romeo Crennel to spit or get off the pot regarding the starting quarterback.
Not "some time this week" or "after another round of evaluations".
It's time right now. Today.
It's time to get whomever, either Charlie Frye or Derek Anderson or, gulp, even Ken Dorsey, the bulk of the reps with the first-team offense, because God and His Son know that they need it. Enough with the splitting series and coin flips and all of this other silly nonsense.
Has either QB pulled significantly ahead of the other? No. Does either QB deserve to be the starting QB on an NFL team? No.
But the situation is what it is. The Browns made their QB bed in the offseason, and it's time for Crennel to lay down with one of them. Enough with the menage-a-quarterback weekend getaways.
Pick one. Pull a name out of a hat. Or, if it makes you more comfortable, flip a coin. But just pick one, Romeo.
That being said, just who should that QB be?
Well, based soley on NFL QBing experience--and having absolutely nothing to do with actual performance this preseason--it should be Frye. He's the lesser of two evils, kind of like choosing to get kicked in the testicles by a man wearing a pair of tennis shoes as opposed to one wearing steel-toed boots.
Both are going to hurt, but the former perhaps less so than the latter.
Make the decision and move forward, Romeo. It's what is best for your team and the organization.
BUT, WHAT ABOUT...: Of course, by now, you've noticed that there has been nary a mention of Brady Quinn, he of the stirring NFL debut less than 48 hours ago, in the starting equation
Yes, Quinn's play Saturday night has warranted more reps and earlier preseason playing time.
Yes, whomever the starter ends up being is simply keeping the seat warm for the Notre Dame product.
Yes, he is the future at the position for the Browns, a future that could come a lot sooner than most expected given his holdout.
But, should that future become sooner rather than later based on a nine minute and twenty second performance in the fourth quarter of a fake game? As Lee Corso oft times says, not so fast my friend.
As noted above, he deserves more reps. He's proven he has at least as good of a grasp of the offense as two of his three veteran teammates. But he has not yet "earned" the starting job, nor, for that matter, has he earned the right to have the starting door slammed shut and locked tight.
Which makes it even more imperative that Crennel makes a decision on his starter, so that the rookie can snare the loser's share of practice and game-time snaps.
Make no mistake, though: Quinn will be the starting QB at some point this season. And yes, indeed, probably sooner rather than later. For all involved, let's just hope that it's not too soon. Especially if it's the muddled mess ahead of him on the depth chart that's the impetus for his insertion into the lineup.
IF NOT NOW, WHEN?: As it pertains to what point is right for Quinn to enter the starting lineup, I think Jeff Schudel of the Lake County News-Herald has it just about right.
In this morning's piece, Schudel writes that "The game against the Dolphins on Oct. 14 would be a perfect target date to make Quinn the starter - unless the Browns are 3-2 or better after five games. A debut Oct. 14 would come after the blitz of division games in September and a trip to New England on Oct. 7.
The bye follows. Fans and coaches would have an extra week to anticipate the final 10 games."
In my simple, beer-addled mind, that scenario makes as much sense as anything.
Is it going to hurt to wait until just before the bye week, to err on the side of caution? This not a playoff team, at least not this season. Quinn has a long and productive career ahead of him. Why the rush, save the impatience of a long-suffering fan base?
If it were up to me, I'd rather wait a little bit too long in inserting Quinn into the lineup than rush him in. There's a much, much greater risk in pushing for the former than there is in waiting on the latter.
But, then again, if he proves it on the field that he's the best man for the job, how can you justify keeping him out of the lineup?
Such is the conundrum Crennel faces, one that is likely directly tied to both his short- and long-term future as head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
ONE MORE QB NOTE: If Quinn would not have held out for nearly two weeks at the start of camp, we would not even be having this discussion and the drama of a QB battle would be but a distant memory. There's little doubt, based solely on Frye's and Anderson's performances, that the first-round pick would have already seized the starting job. A hefty-sized portion of this FUBAR situation falls squarely on the shoulders of Quinn and his representation for not getting signed in time for the beginning of training camp.
ODDS & ENDS: The Browns will close the open-to-the-public portion of training camp with a practice on Thursday from 2:30 to 4:30... Jamal Lewis ran only seven times for 28 yards, but he just looks like a renewed and refreshed running back. "He looked pretty good there early. He was able to plant and get outside a couple times," Crennel said following the game... Kudos to corners Eric Wright (mainly) and Leigh Bodden (partially) for holding rookie phenom Calvin Johnson to zero catches in the first half. So much for the much-heralded starting debut of the can't-miss receiver... Memo to Andra Davis: get better, and get better fast. That object you see in your mirror? It's Leon Williams, and he's a lot closer than he appears...
SPORTSWRITER LINE OF THE DAY: "Fans hailed the arrival of their savior as if Quinn had walked across Lake Erie to get to the stadium." -Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: ""It's nice to get out there and play. I was getting writer's cramp charting plays on the sideline." - Brady Quinn, following his professional debut.
QUOTE OF THE DAY, THE SEQUEL: "He just has a command in the huddle and he's a born leader. He gives you confidence when he looks at you and makes you want to try even harder because of it." - Running back Chris Barclay, on Quinn.