Frye Probably Still the Guy

Despite Brady Quinn's fine debut, it will likely be Charlie Frye under center against the Steelers. Here's an encouraged Romeo Crennel and a humble Brady Quinn looking back on the game against the Lions...

Rookie Brady Quinn played well in mop-up time against the Lions in the second preseason game, but it wasn't enough to make him part of the battle to be the starting quarterback in the season opener -- at least not yet.

Quinn did not play in the preseason opener against the Chiefs Aug. 11 because he ended a 12-day holdout only five days earlier. When Quinn finally did get in the game against the Lions with 9:20 left in the fourth quarter, the Browns trailed 23-7. The Browns reserves were playing the Detroit reserves, and the Lions were in a prevent defense. Quinn did not have to contend with a heavy pass rush.

Still, Quinn completed 13 of 20 passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns.

Quinn got the ball for the final time on the Browns' 8-yard line with 2:10 remaining and no timeouts left. He drove downfield and capped the drive on a six-yard touchdown pass to Jerome Harrison with 18 seconds left.

Quinn showed good awareness on the final drive. He spiked the ball four times to stop the clock. Those spikes are recorded as incomplete passes.

"I think any one of (the quarterbacks) could have done what I did in that situation," Quinn said modestly. "We were in a two-minute drill just trying to catch up. The defense was playing soft coverage."

Crennel is trying to temper the fans' enthusiasm over Quinn -- not that he doesn't like it, but when Sept. 9 rolls around Charlie Frye will probably be the starting quarterback -- and he would like the fans to support his decision.

"I can sit here and say he had a limited offense," Crennel said. "They're still going to be encouraged by what they saw. You have to give the young man credit for doing what he did, even though their best guys weren't in there, but our best guys weren't in there either, supposedly.

"I still think he's a young quarterback. I believe in time he's going to be a good quarterback, but the reason he didn't play more is he wasn't ready."

Crennel is caught in a dilemma, because neither Frye nor Derek Anderson has played well enough in the preseason to inspire confidence. The Browns play three of their first four games at home, all against division opponents. By the end of September, the fans might become an ugly mob demanding Quinn.

Anderson went into the game against the Lions knowing he had to play well to stay in contention. He fumbled on the first play and the Lions recovered. He threw an interception on his second possession.

"Obviously I'm disappointed with the way I played," said Anderson. His passer rating against the Lions was 58.9. It was 58.3 against the Chiefs.

Neither Frye nor Anderson has produced a touchdown in the preseason. They combined for three turnovers and zero points against the Lions. A backward pass by Frye that Harrison failed to catch, technically a fumble by Frye, was returned for a touchdown by the Chiefs' Benny Sapp. That's four turnovers cashed in for 20 points by opponents.

Crennel hoped to name his season-opening starter this week, but now that decision could be delayed.

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